It's time to get serious about concussions


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Here are the signs you should watch for

Parents—as if you didn't already know it—it's (pick one) football, hockey, soccer, cheerleading, season. And with this busy time comes the potential for young athletes to get concussions.

About 10 percent of athletes participating in contact sports will experience a concussive injury. When it happens, allowing time for the brain to heal is key, according to Hunt Batjer, M.D., Chair of Neurological Surgery at UT Southwestern. "If an athlete has a concussion—or even if one is suspected—it's important to discontinue play or practice," he advises. "When in doubt, sit the player out."

Athletes who have one or more of the following signs and symptoms after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head may have a concussion:
Symptoms reported by athletes...

  • Headache or "pressure" in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Just "not feeling right" or "feeling down"

Some athletes may try to hide their symptoms, or not even realize they're having problems. Look for these signs of possible concussion, Dr. Batjer says: 
Signs observed by others. The athlete...

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Moves clumsily
  • Is confused about an assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Can't recall events prior to hit or fall