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What is a Concussion?

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a direct or indirect blow to the head. They range from mild to severe, and may disrupt the way the brain functions on a daily basis. A majority do not involve loss of consciousness, but are always life-threatening. Concussions should be treated conservatively even if they are just mild, because all are potentially serious and may result in complications, including prolonged brain damage or death, if not recognized and managed properly. Signs and symptoms may appear right after the injury, or can take up to several hours or days to fully show. If your child appears to have any symptoms of a concussion, or if you notice signs of one, seek medical attention immediately.



Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Headaches
  • “Pressure in head”
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Blurred, double, or fuzzy vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish or slowed down
  • Feeling foggy or groggy
  • Drowsiness
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Amnesia
  • “Don’t feel right”
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Sadness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Irritability
  • More emotional
  • Confusion
  • Concentration or memory problems (forgetting game plays)
  • Repeating the same question/comment


Signs observed by teammates, parents and coaches include:

  • Appears dazed
  • Vacant facial expression
  • Confused about assignment
  • Forgets plays
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily or displays incoordination
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Slurred speech
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to hit
  • Can’t recall events after hit
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Any change in typical behavior or personality
  • Loses consciousness

































What can happen if my child keeps on playing with a concussion or returns to soon?

Athletes with the signs and symptoms of a concussion should be removed from play immediately. Continuing to play with a concussion leaves the young athlete vulnerable to permanent brain damage and prolonged recovery. There is an increased risk of significant impairment if the athlete suffers another concussion before completely recovering from the first one (Second Impact Syndrome). This can lead to severe brain hemorrhaging, irreversible brain damage, seizures and even mortality.

It is well known that adolescents or teenage athletes will often hide their symptoms of a concussion. As a result, education of administrators, coaches, parents and students is the key for student-athlete safety.

Please inform your child’s coach, administrator or Athletic Trainer if you think that your child may have a concussion


Revised law in California on head injuries and concussions as of January 1st, 2015

 “A student-athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game shall be removed from competition at that time and for the remainder of the day… A student-athlete who has been removed may not return to play until the athlete is evaluated by a licensed heath care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion and received written clearance to return to play from that health care provider… the athlete is required to complete a graduated return-to-play protocol of no less than 7 days in duration under the supervision of a licensed health care provider.” (State of California Assembly Bill no. 2127 and California Interscholastic Federation law 503)