Parents and coaches are not expected to be able to “diagnose” a concussion. That is the role of an appropriate health-care professional. However, everyone involved in athletics must be aware of the signs, symptoms and behaviors associated with a concussion. If you suspect that an athlete may have a concussion, then he or she must be immediately removed from all physical activity.
Signs Observed by Coaching Staff
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment or position
- Forgets an instruction
- Is unsure of game, score or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows mood, behavior or personality changes
- Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
- Can’t recall events after hit or fall
Symptoms Reported by Athlete
- Headaches or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
Concentration or memory problems
- Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down”
- When in doubt, sit them out!
- When you suspect that a player has a concussion, follow the “Heads Up” 4-step Action Plan.
- Remove the athlete from play.
Ensure that the athlete is evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional.
Inform the athlete’s parents or guardians about the possible concussion and give them information on concussion.
Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until an appropriate health-care professional says he or she is symptom-free and gives the okay to return to activity.
The signs, symptoms, and behaviors associated with a concussion are not always apparent immediately after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body and may develop over a few hours or longer. An athlete should be closely watched following a suspected concussion and should never be left alone.