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Learn to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Concussions in Athletes

concussion poster

Image description: This poster explains the signs and symptoms of concussions and is available for download and printing from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Concussions are brain injuries caused by a blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. They can occur in any sport and without loss of consciousness. Even mild bumps or blows to the head can be serious. Athletes, parents, and coaches need to be able to recognize the signs that a concussion has occurred.

Athletes who have experienced a concussion must be kept from playing until their brain has completely healed, because a repeat concussion increases the likelihood of having long-term problems. Only a health professional with experience in evaluating concussions can say when it’s okay to play, and athletes need to be protected from pressure to get into the game too early.

Signs and Symptoms of Concussions

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
  • Confusion
  • Does not “feel right”

Signs observed by others:

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets sports plays
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can’t recall events after hit or fall

For more information especially for athletes, parents, and coaches such as printable fact sheets, posters, and a online training course, visit Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports from the Centers for Disease Control.

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