What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.
What are the signs and symptoms?
You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days after the injury. If your teen reports one or more symptoms of concussion listed below, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, keep your teen out of play and seek medical attention right away.
Signs Observed by Parents or Guardians
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment or position
- Forgets an instruction
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
- Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
- Can’t recall events after hit or fall
Symptoms Reported by Athlete
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Just not “feeling right” or is “feeling down”
How can you help your teen prevent a concussion?
Every sport is different, but there are steps your teens can take to protect themselves from concussion and other injuries.
- Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for their activity. It should fit properly, be well maintained, and be worn consistently and correctly.
- Ensure that they follow their coaches' rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
- Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
What should you do if you think your teen has a concussion?
- Keep your teen out of play.If your teen has a concussion,her/his brain needs time to heal. Don’t let your teen return to play the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion,says your teen is symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first—usually within a short period of time (hours, days, or weeks)—can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems. In rare cases,repeat concussions can result in edema (brain swelling),permanent brain damage, and even death.
- Seek medical attention right away.A health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your teen to return to sports.
- Teach your teen that it’s not smart to play with a concussion.Rest is key after a concussion. Sometimes athletes wrongly believe that it shows strength and courage to play injured.Discourage others from pressuring injured athletes to play. Don’t let your teen convince you that s/he’s “just fine.”
- Tell all of your teen’s coaches and the student’s school nurse about ANY concussion.Coaches, school nurses, and other school staff should know if your teen has ever had a concussion.Your teen may need to limit activities while s/he is recovering from a concussion. Things such as studying, driving, working on a computer, playing video games, or exercising may cause concussion symptoms to reappear or get worse. Talk to your health care professional, as well as your teen’s coaches,school nurse, and teachers. If needed, they can help adjust your teen’s school activities during her/his recovery.
If you think your teen has a concussion: Don’t assess it yourself. Take him/her out of play. Seek the advice of a health care professional.
It’s better to miss one game than the whole season.
For more information and to order additional materials free-of-charge, visit: www.cdc.gov/Concussion.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST
A Fact Sheet for Parents
Sudden cardiac arrest is a rare, but tragic event that claims the lives of approximately 500 athletes each year in the United States. Sudden cardiac arrest can affect all levels of athletes, in all sports, and in all age levels. The majority of cardiac arrests are due to congenital (inherited) heart defects. However, sudden cardiac arrest can also occur after a person experiences an illness which has caused an inflammation to the heart or after a direct blow to the chest.
There may not be any noticeable symptoms before a person experiences loss of consciousness and a full cardiac arrest (no pulse and no breathing).
Warning signs can include a complaint of:
- Chest Discomfort
- Unusual Shortness of Breath
- Racing or Irregular Heartbeat
- Fainting or Passing Out
EMERGENCY SIGNS – Call EMS (911)
- If a person experiences any of the following signs, call EMS (911) immediately:
- If an athlete collapses suddenly during competition
- If a blow to the chest from a ball, puck or another player precedes an athlete’s complaints of any of the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest
- If an athlete does not look or feel right and you are just not sure
How can I help my child prevent a sudden cardiac arrest?
Daily physical activity, proper nutrition, and
adequate sleep are all important aspects of lifelong
health. Additionally, parents can assist
student athletes prevent a sudden cardiac
Ensuring your child knows about any
family history of sudden cardiac arrest
(onset of heart disease in a family
member before the age of 50 or a
sudden, unexplained death at an early
Ensuring your child has a thorough preseason
screening exam prior to
participation in an organized athletic
Asking if your school and the site of
competition has an automatic
defibrillator (AED) that is close by and
Learning CPR yourself
Ensuring your child is not using any
non-prescribed stimulants or
performance enhancing drugs
Being aware that the inappropriate use
of prescription medications or energy
drinks can increase risk
Encouraging your child to be honest
and report symptoms of chest
discomfort, unusual shortness of
breath, racing or irregular heartbeat, or
What should I do if I think my child has
warning signs that may lead to sudden cardiac
1. Tell your child’s coach about any previous events or family history
2. Keep your child out of play
3. Seek medical attention right away
Developed and Reviewed by the Indiana Department of Education’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest Advisory Board (1-7-15)