THE FACTS ABOUT CONCUSSION
- A concussion is a brain injury
- All concussions are serious
- Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness
- Anyone with any symptoms following a head injury must be removed from playing or training
and must not take part in any activity until all concussion symptoms have cleared
- Specifically, there must be no return to play on the day of any suspected concussion
- Return to education or work takes priority over return to play
- If in doubt, sit them out to help prevent further injury or even death
- Concussion can be fatal
- Most concussions recover with rest
What is concussion?
Concussion is a traumatic brain injury resulting in a disturbance of brain function. There are many symptoms of concussion,
common ones being headache, dizziness, memory disturbance or balance problems.
Loss of consciousness, being knocked out, occurs in less than 10% of concussions. Loss of consciousness is not required to diagnose concussion.
What causes concussion?
Concussion can be caused by a direct blow to the head, but can also occur when blows to other parts
of the body result in rapid movement of the head e.g. whiplash type injuries.
Who is at risk?
Concussions can happen at any age. However, children and adolescents (18 and under)
- are more susceptible to concussion
- take longer to recover
- have more significant memory and mental processing issues.
- are more susceptible to rare and dangerous neurological complications, including death caused by a single or second impact
A history of previous concussion increases risk of further concussions, which may take longer to recover.
How soon after injury do the symptoms of concussion start?
The first symptoms of concussion can present at any time, but typically appear in the first 24-48 hours following a head injury.
How do I recognise a concussion?
If there is any suspicion a player might be concussed, they should immediately be removed from play or training.
What are the visible clues of concussion (what you see)?
Any one or more of the following visual clues can indicate a concussion:
- Dazed, blank or vacant look
- Lying motionless on ground / Slow to get up
- Unsteady on feet / Balance problems or falling over / Incoordination
- Loss of consciousness or responsiveness
- Confused / Not aware of plays or events
- Grabbing / Clutching of head
- Seizure (fits)
- More emotional / Irritable than normal for that person
What are the symptoms of concussion (what you are told)?
Presence of any one or more of the following signs & symptoms may suggest a concussion:
- Mental clouding, confusion, or feeling slowed down
- Visual problems
- Nausea or vomiting
- Drowsiness / Feeling like “in a fog“ / difficulty concentrating
- “Pressure in head”
- Sensitivity to light or noise
What questions should I ask?
These should be tailored to the particular activity and event, but failure to answer any of the questions correctly may suggest a concussion.
- “What venue are we at today?”
- “Which half is it now?”
- “Who scored last in this game?”
- “What team did you play last week / game?”
- “Did your team win the last game?”