Concussions have become an important topic among sports such as football, cheerleading and lacrosse over the last decade.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), concussions among children and teens takes longer to recover from which could result in long term effects including memory loss and depression.
But not all concussions results in losing consciousness. Some concussions occur when the athlete is conscious and able to move.
The fact that athletes can still function after a blunt force means that it is crucial for coaches, players and parents to know the side effects and key symptoms of concussions.
Here are 7 concussion symptoms you should look for after an athlete endures blunt force during a play.
Headaches/pressure in head
Headaches related to concussions can last for a few minutes or weeks depending on how hard the athlete hit their head.
Any headaches that occur from blunt force should be seen by a medical professional immediately to prevent further neurological damage.
Nausea or vomiting
Nausea and/or vomiting is a common physical side effect of a concussion.
According to clinic resource support website UptoDate, “approximately 10 percent of children and/or adolescents experience at least one episode of vomiting after an injury.”
Recurring vomiting is a symptom that requires immediate medical attention to rule out an injury to the skull.
Double vision or diplopia causes someone to see two images instead of one. If an athlete experiences double vision, take them to the emergency room.
An eye test from a doctor will determine if the double vision is monocular or binocular (damage to one or both eyes).
Once the doctor evaluates each eye they can figure out an accurate treatment plan.
Considered a visible and non-visible symptom for concussions, confusion can be an indicator to coaches, parents and athletes of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
An athlete could be diagnosed with TBI if they lose consciousness ans/or is confused for less than 30 minutes.
This symptom does not happen right away, in some cases confusion can occur days or even weeks after the incident.
Bothered by light
Photophobia or sensitivity to light is a common symptom of TBI which can result in eye strain and headaches.
Accordinf to the International Brain Injury Association “Those with post-concussion light sensitivity may also experience indirect symptoms such as vertigo, fatigue, and difficulty multitasking” and can last from a week to six months depending on the injury.
Balance is another common symptom of TBI.
According to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC), between 30-65 percent of people experience dizziness and disequilibrium during their recovery.
The severity of disequilibrium varies depending on how hard and where the athlete’s brain was injured.
During a concussion some people may experience loss of consciousness, however that is not the case for most concussions.
Amnesia or confusion is considered a loss of consciousness for individuals who do not physically lose consciousness or is “knocked out” for a short time span.
According to the CDC, a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously and the injured individual should be monitored closely.
If you or an athlete are experiencing these symptoms after blunt force to the head, do not continue to play. Seek medical assistance to prevent additional trauma and injuries.