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CDC HEADS UP

CONCUSSION INFO

CONCUSSION INFO

All Concussions are serious.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Concussions Are Serious

Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a concussion can be serious.
 

HEADS UP Video: What Is a Concussion?

 

Learn More about Concussions and Brain Injury

Illustration of a brain hitting the inside of the skull

What Is A Concussion?

African American boy with holding his forehead while sitting on his father

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Doctor examining boy

Responding to Concussion

Female lying on track holding her head

Danger Signs

Doctors looking at brain scans

Severe Brain Injury

Sleeping child

Recovery from Concussion

Kids in a classroom

Returning to School

Boys playing basketball

Returning to Sports

Grandson and Grandfather on bikes with helmets

Brain Injury Safety and Prevention

Diverse hands in stacked on each other for unity
 

Get Involved

 
Content provided and maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please see our system usage guidelines and disclaimer.

Create a Safe Sport Culture.

Athletes thrive when they:
Have fun playing their sport. Receive positive messages and praise from their coaches for concussion symptom reporting. Have parents who talk with them about concussion and model and expect safe play. Feel comfortable reporting symptoms of a possible concussion to coaches. Support their teammates sitting out of play if they have concussion. Get written instructions from a health care provider on when to return to school and play.
 
A strong focus on health and safety in sports can help keep young athletes safe.
We need to build a culture in sports where athletes take steps to lower their chances of getting a concussion and recognize and report concussion symptoms so that they can seek care and take time to recover. This involves moving beyond general knowledge of concussion and changing the way we talk about and respond to concussion so that athletes know they cannot play with a concussion or hide their symptoms.
While research is ongoing to help identify the best approach to changing the culture of concussion in sports, there are action steps that coaches, parents, health care providers, and school professionals can take now to help keep young athletes safe and supported as they pursue the sports they love to play.
 
CDC created, “Concussion at Play: Opportunities to Reshape the Culture Around Concussion” report to provide a snapshot on current research on concussion knowledge, awareness, attitudes, and behaviors. Based on these findings, the report includes potential strategies to help keep athletes safe.
 
 

Playing or Practicing With a Concussion is Dangerous.

In rare cases, a dangerous collection of blood (hematoma) may form on the brain after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that may squeeze the brain against the skull. Call 9-1-1 right away, or take your child or teen to the emergency department if he or she has one or more of the following danger signs after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body:
Dangerous Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion
  • One pupil larger than the other.
  • Drowsiness or inability to wake up.
  • A headache that gets worse and does not go away.
  • Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination.
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures (shaking or twitching).
  • Unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
  • Loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out). Even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously.
Dangerous Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion for Toddlers and Infants
  • Any of the signs and symptoms listed in the Danger Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion list.
  • Will not stop crying and cannot be consoled.
  • Will not nurse or eat.

HEADS UP Video: Concussion Danger Signs

Real Stories: Tracey’s Story

 

Learn More about Concussions and Brain Injury

Illustration of a brain hitting the inside of the skull

What Is A Concussion?

African American boy with holding his forehead while sitting on his father

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Doctor examining boy

Responding to Concussion

Female lying on track holding her head

Danger Signs

Doctors looking at brain scans

Severe Brain Injury

Sleeping child

Recovery from Concussion

Kids in a classroom

Returning to School

Boys playing basketball

Returning to Sports

Grandson and Grandfather on bikes with helmets

Brain Injury Safety and Prevention

Diverse hands in stacked on each other for unity

Get Involved

 
Content provided and maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please see our system usage guidelines and disclaimer.

Concussions Affect Each Athlete Differently.

Most children with a concussion feel better within a couple of weeks. However for some, symptoms will last for a month or longer. Concussion symptoms may appear during the normal healing process or as your child gets back to their regular activities. If there are any symptoms that concern you or are getting worse, be sure to seek medical care as soon as possible.

What Steps Should My Child Take to Feel Better?

Making short-term changes to your child’s daily activities can help him or her get back to a regular routine more quickly. As your child begins to feel better, you can slowly remove these changes. Use your child’s symptoms to guide return to normal activities. If your child’s symptoms do not worsen during an activity then this activity is OK for them. If symptoms worsen, your child should cut back on how much he or she can do that activity without experiencing symptoms. It is important to remember that each concussion and each child is unique, so your child’s recovery should be customized based on his or her symptoms.
Recovery Delays
Factors that might delay recovery include your child having:
  • a history of a previous concussion or other brain injury,
  • neurological or mental health disorders,
  • learning difficulties, and/or
  • family and social stressors.
1. Rest
Your child should take it easy the first few days after the injury when symptoms are more severe.
  • Early on, limit physical and thinking/remembering activities to avoid symptoms getting worse.
  • Avoid activities that put your child at risk for another injury to the head and brain.
  • Get a good night’s sleep and take naps during the day as needed.
2. Light Activity
As your child starts to feel better, gradually return to regular (non-strenuous) activities.
  • Find relaxing activities at home. Avoid activities that put your child at risk for another injury to the head and brain.
  • Return to school gradually. If symptoms do not worsen during an activity, then this activity is OK for your child. If symptoms worsen, cut back on that activity until it is tolerated.
  • Get maximum nighttime sleep. (Avoid screen time and loud music before bed, sleep in a dark room, and keep to a fixed bedtime and wake up schedule.)
  • Reduce daytime naps or return to a regular daytime nap schedule (as appropriate for their age).
3. Moderate Activity
When symptoms are mild and nearly gone, your child can return to most regular activities.
  • Help your child take breaks only if concussion symptoms worsen.
  • Return to a regular school schedule.
4. Back to Regular Activity
Recovery from a concussion is when your child is able to do all of their regular activities without experiencing any symptoms.
Also, be sure to:
  • Schedule a follow up appointment for your child’s doctor or nurse.
  • Ask your child’s doctor or nurse about safe over-the-counter or prescription medications to help with symptoms (e.g., Ibuprofen or acetaminophen for headache).
  • Limit the number of soft drinks or caffeinated items to help your child rest.

Post-Concussive Syndrome

While most children and teens with a concussion feel better within a couple of weeks, some will have symptoms for months or longer. Talk with your children’s or teens’ health care provider if their concussion symptoms do not go away or if they get worse after they return to their regular activities.
If your child or teen has concussion symptoms that last weeks to months after the injury, their medical provider may talk to you about post-concussive syndrome. While rare after only one concussion, post-concussive syndrome is believed to occur most commonly in patients with a history of multiple concussions.
There are many people who can help you and your family as your child or teen recovers. You do not have to do it alone. Keep talking with your medical provider, family members, and loved ones about how your child or teen is feeling. If you do not think he or she is getting better, tell your medical provider.

Heads Up Video: Concussion

 

Real Stories: Molly’s Mom’s Story

 

Learn More about Concussions and Brain Injury

Illustration of a brain hitting the inside of the skull

What Is A Concussion?

African American boy with holding his forehead while sitting on his father

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Doctor examining boy

Responding to Concussion

Female lying on track holding her head

Danger Signs

Doctors looking at brain scans

Severe Brain Injury

Sleeping child

Recovery from Concussion

Kids in a classroom

Returning to School

Boys playing basketball

Returning to Sports

Grandson and Grandfather on bikes with helmets

Brain Injury Safety and Prevention

Diverse hands in stacked on each other for unity

Get Involved

Content provided and maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please see our system usage guidelines and disclaimer.
Did you Know?

Did you Know?

25 percent of the concussions reported among high school athletes result from aggressive or illegal play.
Take Action: Model, expect, and enforce safe play. You set the tone for safety.
Learn more 

Put a Concussion Action Plan in Place

Help protect athletes from a serious brain or head injury.
Learn More

Changing the Culture of Concussion Starts With You!

Learn More
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