What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury caused when the brain moves rapidly back and forth inside the skull. It can cause a variety of symptoms and may affect the way a player thinks or acts. Most concussions do not include a loss of consciousness.
What causes a concussion?
A concussion can be caused directly by a hit to the head, or indirectly by a hit to the body that causes a sudden jerk of the head or neck. Any force that causes the brain to move around in the skull can result in a concussion.
How serious is a concussion?
Any head injury needs to be taken seriously. Most concussions, managed appropriately, resolve without complications. On rare occasions, concussion injuries can be more serious and result in long term disabilities.
The real dangers of most concussions occur when the injury is not recognized or the player is not managed correctly. Returning to activities too early can put a player at increased risk for future concussions and serious complications.
If a player has another concussion, the effects can be worse and result in more serious complications. Second impact syndrome is a rare but typically fatal injury that may result if a player sustains another concussion before their brain has healed.
Managing a player with a concussion
A concussion is a mild brain injury and can be difficult to manage. The long term health of a player who has sustained a concussion is dependent on a management team of players, coaches, referees, school staff, physicians and parents. As a coach you have an important role in recognizing and responding if a player has had a hit to the head or blow to the body. You also play an important role as a concussed player works through the return to play stages.
If you suspect your player has a concussion, check for Red Flag Symptoms immediately and review the steps on the Concussion Response Tool
For more information take the Concussion Awareness Course
- Concussions do not always include a loss of consciousness
- Helmets DO NOT protect against concussions
- A player does not need to be hit in the head to sustain a concussion
- The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be delayed up to weeks post injury