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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – Image courtesy of sma.org

With spring sports such as soccer and lacrosse coming up, it is vital for all involved to be prepared and know what to look for in the event of a possible concussion. From the hallway to the playground and everywhere in between, no one is immune from this common but highly dangerous type of injury. Concussions can have an even more serious effect on a young, developing brain and it is imperative that they be addressed swiftly and correctly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a concussion as a traumatic brain injury (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 back and forth rapidly. Such sudden movement can make the brain twist or bounce in the skull, stretching and damaging cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.

A person does not always become unconscious upon getting a concussion; and while there may be signs of injury to the head such as bruising or cuts, there is often no sign of visible injury. Therefore, it is so important to know what to look for if a concussion is suspected. According to the CDC, symptoms of concussions frequently fall into four categories:

Thinking/Remembering

  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering new information

Physical

  • Headache
  • Fuzzy or blurry vision
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on)
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Trouble balancing
  • Feeling tired, having no energy

Emotional/Mood

  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • More emotional
  • Nervousness or anxiety

Sleep

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Trouble falling asleep

Some symptoms may appear right away, others may not be noticed for days, weeks, or months after the injury. Medical attention should be sought after immediately, especially if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Drowsiness that cannot be awakened
  • A headache that gets worse and does not go away
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Difficulty recognizing people or places
  • Increasing confusion, restlessness, or agitation
  • Unusual behavior
  • Loss of consciousness (even brief, should be taken seriously)

It is also important to watch for changes to see if symptoms worsen or others manifest.

The CDC recommends that all school professionals know their Concussion ABCs:

A – Assess the situation

B – Be alert for signs and symptoms

C – Contact a health care professional

With millions of documented cases in the United States each year, know the facts to ensure safety and choose Student Accident Medical Insurance to protect your school. Coverage from Student Accident Insurance ensures that all students have immediate access to quality medical care due to a school related incident. It is risk management for schools as well as a cost-effective tool to reduce financial concern for parents.

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About the Author:Catherine Wardach