Concussion Signs and What To Do When You See Them



concussion signs and what to do

by: Brad Yeargin, Columbia SC

A concussion is a brain injury in which the brain collides with the inside of the skull. Concussions always are serious, can occur in any sport, and can result from a blow to the body or a shaking at the head. Most of them occur without a loss of consciousness.

Adolescents are more likely than adults to get concussions and their recovery takes longer. Athletes with a history of concussions are at an increased risk for another concussion. A repeat concussion before the brain is fully healed from the first injury will take longer than normal to recover from and increases the likelihood of long-term problems.

Recognition of and proper response to concussions when they first occur can prevent further injury or even death.

Here’s a checklist of signs and symptoms to consider:


A forceful bump, blow or jolt to the head or body

Concussion symptoms or a change in the athlete’s:

  • Behavior
  • Thinking
  • Physical functioning

What you can see

  • The athlete appears dazed or stunned
  • Confused about assignment
  • Forgets instruction
  • Unsure of game, score or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness
  • Mood changes
  • Can’t recall events before or after hit

What the athlete reports

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Concentration problems
  • Confusion


Remove athlete from competition

Ensure the athlete is evaluated by a health care professional experienced in concussion evaluation

  • Laws vary by state but can include primary care physicians, sports medicine physicians, certified athletic trainers

Inform athlete’s parents of possible concussion

Keep athlete out of play until cleared by a health care professional


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