According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur each year. One of the most talked about causes of concussions is in sports, with 5-10% of athletes experiencing a concussion each sports season.
The intensity of a concussion can range from mild to severe and it is important for a caregiver to assess the severity of the concussion to know when to seek emergency medical attention. With any head injury, it’s important to seek the proper medical attention.
Signs and Symptoms of a Mild Concussion
For mild concussions, it is recommended that the injured person be examined by a health care professional and be monitored closely for any of the symptoms below for at least 24 hours following the injury. If the individual’s concussion signs worsen you should take them to an emergency room immediately.
Headache or “pressure” in the head region
Confusion, concentration or issues remembering events prior to or after the blow or jolt to the head
Ringing in ears
Signs and Symptoms of a Severe Concussion
If you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms after a potential concussion event, seek immediate medical attention by calling 9-1-1 or visiting your closest emergency room.
A headache that gets worse and doesn’t go away
Ongoing nausea and vomiting
Inability to awaken from sleep
Numbness and/or weakness in the arms and legs
Loss of consciousness, even if brief, should be taken seriously
Sports Concussion Safety and Prevention Tips
While not all concussions can be avoided, following some of the simple steps below can help decrease the risk of a concussion and increase safety for athletes.
Wear the appropriate protective gear for the sport in which you are participating and be sure that this equipment is properly maintained and fits properly.
Follow sports guidelines and rules for safety.
Practice good sportsmanship.
Report any concussions that you witness in sports.
If you are injured, don’t return to the game until receiving permission from professional healthcare providers.
When it comes to head injuries, it’s always best to seek a doctor’s advice and only return to playing sports once your injury is completely healed in order to avoid second impact syndrome or another complication.