What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Even what seems to be a mild bump on the head can be serious.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

Danger Signs

Be alert for symptoms that worsen over time. Your child or teen should be seen in an emergency department right away if s/he has:

  • One pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other
  • Drowsiness or 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
  • Loss of consciousness (even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously)

  • Returning to Physical Actives

    Children and teens with a concussion should NEVER return to sports or recreation activities on the same day the injury occurred. They should delay returning to their activities until a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play. This means, until permitted, not returning to:

  • Physical Education (PE) class,
  • Sports practices or games, or
  • Physical activity at recess

  • What should I do if my child or teen has a concussion?

    1. Seek medical attention right away

    2. Help them take time to get better

    3. Together with your child or teen, learn more about concussions.

    How can I help my child return to school safely after a concussion?

    Help your child or teen get needed support when returning to school after a concussion. Talk with your child’s teachers, school nurse, coach, speech-language pathologist, or counselor about your child’s concussion and symptoms. Your child may feel frustrated, sad, and even angry because s/he cannot return to recreation and sports right away, or cannot keep up with schoolwork. Your child may also feel isolated from peers and social networks. Talk often with your child about these issues and offer your support and encouragement. As your child’s symptoms decrease, the extra help or support can be removed gradually. Children and teens who return to school after a concussion may need to:

  • Take rest breaks as needed,
  • Spend fewer hours at school,
  • Be given more time to take tests or complete assignments,
  • Receive help with schoolwork, and/or
  • Reduce time spent reading, writing, or on the computer

  • Click Here for a Parent Fact Sheet on Concussions


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