The start to the football season is right around the corner and throughout the area, many high school teams are practicing for their upcoming games. Through route running and drills, players are sharpening their skills to be at their best, but something on the minds of almost everyone is concussions.
In 2012 alone, close to four million concussions were reported amongst young athletes. Of those, 33 percent of them occurred during practice and 20 percent of high school athletes will sustain a sports concussion during the season. With the numbers out there about concussions becoming more common, how can you spot the signs if someone has one?
Concussions can be a tricky thing to spot. Some symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for days or even months after the injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signs to look for when it comes to concussions can be a headache that gets worse and doesn’t go away. People can also experience weakness, numbness or a decrease in coordination. They can also have slurred speech, large pupils, nausea, confusion, mood swings and even seizures.
Early on for concussions, many of these problems can be overlooked by the person who received the injury, family members or doctors. The person may seem like they would be fine, but if they are acting or feeling differently, seek immediate medical attention.
If the person takes a hit to the head during a game, practice or any fall in general, a good thing to keep in mind are the 5 Rs of Concussion Management.
Those 5 Rs start with...
According to the Mercy Health System, parents and coaches should always be aware of the signs, symptoms and behaviors of a possible concussion. If they suspect that athlete may have a concussion.
Then they must immediately...
...that person from all physical activity.
The third step?
If an athlete thinks he or she may have a concussion, they should tell their coach immediately. If another player thinks their teammate may have a concussion, they too should tell their coach. All athletes should understand that this injury should not be one where you can tough out and continue playing.
After suffering a concussion, the player(s) should be...
...to a qualified health care provider. Previously, athletes could return to play if their symptoms cleared up within 15 minutes of the injury, but newer studies say a young brain doesn’t recover that quickly. If the player has a concussion, they should never be allowed to resume the sport or physical activity until a health care professional gives them clearance.
Players with a concussion need rest from physical and mental activities that need concentration and attention as these can worsen symptoms. Once an athlete no longer has signs or symptoms and is given written clearance by a health care professional, they can start their rehab to begin getting back to their sport.