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What To Do If You Suspect A Concussion

You are making a near post run in the goal box as your teammate sends a firm, driven cross right in the direction of your head. You are excited for the potential goal you may be scoring and jump up for the ball to head it in the net, when the person defending you goes up at the same time and heads your head instead of the ball. You fall to the ground, wondering what just happened. Needless to say, you didn’t score the goal. Oh, and now you have a concussion.

A concussion is the most common type of head injury in athletes. It occurs when a force jars the brain against the skull. It can result directly from a blow to the head or indirectly from a sudden jolt to the body, causing a whiplash type of effect to the spine and head. Concussions cause damage to brain tissue and need to be taken seriously. Symptoms that can occur immediately include headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light or noise, memory loss, upset stomach, and vomiting. Other symptoms that are often times not detected for hours or days after the injury include but are not limited to difficulty concentrating, insomnia, fatigue, neck and back pain, decreased balance and coordination, and irritability.

Concussion symptoms are typically gone in a few days but the brain needs to continue to heal. When an athlete experiences an injury to the head with suspicion of a concussion, the following steps need to be followed.

  • Remove the athlete from play
  • Have the athlete evaluated by the appropriate healthcare professional
  • Inform the athlete’s responsible party of possible concussion
  • Only allow athlete to return to play when cleared by a healthcare professional that is trained in evaluating and treating a concussion.

Concussions need to be taken seriously! Parents, coaches, and players need to be aware of what a concussion is and how dangerous it can be. When an athlete has suffered more than one concussion, it can result in permanent intellectual and cognitive changes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a free online program that is available to coaches and parents in order to be better informed on prevention, identification, and treatment of concussions. http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/youthsports/training/index.html

Omaha Physical Therapy Institute’s physical therapists are prepared to provide services necessary to get athletes back to their sport safely after suffering a concussion. If you have any questions, please contact Omaha Physical Therapy Institute at 402-934-8688 and any of the physical therapists there would be happy to assist you!

Katie Cordery, PT