As a student-athlete, it is important that you immediately report your concussion to your coach or athletic trainer. Even if you are not sure, it is important to get evaluated by a medical professional. Being familiar with the signs and symptoms of a concussion will help you recognize if you or a teammate may have a concussion.
As a student-athlete, it is very important to take care of your mind, body, and soul. A concussion can affect your mind by slowering your processing speed, decreasing reaction time, memory, and cause mental fogginess. Your body is affected by a concussion by headaches, dizziness, vision problems, and balance problems. A person's soul can also be affected by a concussion by emotional swings, irritability, depression, and stress. Therefore, a concussion will not just affect your athletic ability, it can also affect you academic performance, social life, and family life.
When you report your concussion to your Athletic Trainer or coach you need to be honest and not downplay the seriousness of the concussion. Your Athletic Trainer will do a clinical exam as well as give you the following instructions:
» Refer you to see a medical professional, most likely your primary care physician, but in some cases, the emergency room.
» Information on cognitive rest. Cognitive rest over the next 72 hours is important to rest the brain and not to overtax it. It is comparable to using crutches when someone injuries their ankle. To rest the ankle, the crutches aid in taking the weight off the injured ankle, therefore not stressing the joint when walking.
» Information on home care. Your parents or guardians should take you immediately to the emergency room if they notice any of the following:
When you return to see the Athletic trainer they will administer the following tests:
» Neurocognitive test such as ImPACT. This test is designed to assess brain functions such as memory, processing speed, and reaction.
» Postural stability test such as the BESS. This test is designed to assess balance and coordination.
» A symptom evaluation test such as the Post Concussion Symptom Score. This test is designed to assess the types of symptoms and the severity that the concussed child my be having.
Often times with a concussion, returning to school may be difficult. Math problems, reading, computer time, even bright lights and loud noise taxes the brain's metabolic function and may trigger symptoms and make your child feel worse. Therefore, by having your parents notify the school it could be possible that short-term adjustments to your day may be implemented to reduce the triggering of symptoms. You should also notify your athletic trainer if you are experiencing problems in school.
As you progress in your recovery, symptoms subside, your ImPACT results return to baseline, and you are cleared by a Medical Doctor, you may now begin physical activity with your athletic trainer.
You will be put through a Graduated Return to Play Protocol that normally takes 5 days to complete.