About What is a Concussion?

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.

You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.

How Can You Help Your Child Prevent a Concussion?

Every sport is different, but there are steps your children can take to protect themselves from concussion.

  • Ensure that they follow their coach’s rules for safety and
    the rules of the sport.
  • Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for their activity (such as helmets, padding, shin guards, and eye and mouth guards). Protective equipment should fit properly, be well maintained, and be worn consistently and correctly.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion.


What Should You Do if You Think Your Child has a Concussion?

  1. Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to sports.
  2. Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your child return to play until a health care professional says it’s OK. Children who return to play too soon – while the brain is still healing – risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Second or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child
    for a lifetime.
  3. Tell your child’s coach about any recent concussion. Coaches should know if your child had a recent concussion in ANY sport. Your child's coach may not know about a concussion your child received in another sport or activity unless you tell the coach.

To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, the CDC developed the Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. The Heads Up initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion. For a printable PDF of this page and many other parent tools and information, visit www.cdc.gov/ConcussionInYouthSports for more information.


Signs & Symptoms:

  • Confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Unsure of game, score
    or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Slow to answer questions
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events
    prior to hit or fall
  • Appears dazed

How your child may describe symptoms:

  • Headache or “pressure”
  • Feels queasy or sick
  • Feels dizzy
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitive to light
  • Sensitive to noise
  • Feels sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Cant concentrate or remember things
  • Feels confused
  • Does not “feel right”

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