Concussions
​Concussions

Conscussions. Back to School. Back to Sports.

Please share this important information with your employees; this article provides guidance about the importance of paying attention to the signs of a c​oncussion as well as resources.

Coaches, referees, parents, and players of organized youth sports are required to have education on head injuries before they begin their seasons – it’s the law. While youth sports are responsible for a large percentage of concussions, kids can also get a concussion doing many other things such as playing on a playground.


“A concussion is a functional traumatic brain injury. It may occur with or without losing consciousness,” explained Dr. Alison Brooks, MD, MPH, UW Health Sports Medicine. Years ago, people would describe a head injury as “getting their bell rung” or “getting dinged”.  Dr. Brooks cautions that this type of casual view of head injuries is dangerous.  Concussions can be caused from direct impact, but many happen without any contact to the head. A sudden stop, such as a fall to the ground or two players running directly into each other, even without hitting heads, can cause a concussion.


ImPACT testing at UW Health Sports Medicine

UW Health Sports Medicine has expanded its concussion treatment program by offering ImPACT testing to local and regional athletes through the schools. This is a computer-based testing program designed for the management of sports-related concussions. It records an athlete's health history, current symptoms and other important information. Dr. Brooks mentions that there are many tools that they use to manage concussions.

Returning to play or activities

Dr. Brooks stresses that is important for the parent to be an active participant in the child’s healing process. It is easy to lose sight of what is most important and parents may feel pressure to let a child not follow the treatment plan. The return to the field or sport comes after the child has returned to their normal daily activities and school and not until the doctor says it’s safe.



Resources

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: Guidelines for Concussion and Head Injury

Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion?

Only one of the following symptoms needs to be present. It is also possible to have any combination of these symptoms.

  • Confusion / disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Unsteadiness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling "in a fog"
  • Vomiting
  • May or may not involve loss of consciousness (loss of consciousness is not typical)

What should be done if a concussion is suspected?

  • Do not have the person take ibuprofen related products or aspirin
  • Seek medical advice from an individual who is trained in assessing and diagnosing concussions
  • Carefully watch the injured person for worsening symptoms
  • If symptoms continue to worsen, transport the athlete to the local emergency room for further evaluation

How to prevent head injuries? 

  • Follow a physician’s “return to play” guidelines
  • Equipment should be properly fitted, routinely checked and replaced or refitted when necessary (this includes protective oral devices such as mouth-guards)
  • Always follow “safe sports techniques” as they pertain to your sport
  • If an athlete has sustained a head injury and has concussion symptoms, he / she should not return to play without being evaluated by a medical professional