A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head or by forces transmitted to the head following a blow to the face, neck or body.
What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
If your child has experienced a blow to the head, face, neck or body during a game or practice, look for any of the signs and symptoms listed. If your athlete reports any symptoms of a concussion, or if you notice these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
Signs observed by parents, guardians or coaches
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Forgets simple instructions
- Is unsure of game, score or opponent
- Moves clumsily or has problems with balance
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows behavior or personality changes
- Can't recall events prior to the injury
- Can't recall events after the injury
- Is confused about assignment or position
Symptoms reported by athlete
- Headache 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"
What should you do if you think your athlete has a concussion?
- Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the injury is and when it is safe for your child to return to sports.
- Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don't let your child return to play until a health care provider says it's alright. Children who return to play too soon --- while the brain is still healing --- risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. A second concussion that occurs before a first concussion has resolved itself can be very serious. This can cause serious brain damage that could be permanent, affecting your child for a lifetime.
- Tell your child's coach about any recent concussions. 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 them.
- Academics should be a consideration in any conversation concerning sports concussions. New evidence-based research on concussions gives health care professionals guidelines not only for safe return to play, but also, more importantly, optimal return to classroom learning.
Download our concussion information sheet for more information on how to prevent a concussion and Florida laws and guidelines surrounding athlete concussions.