2. What is a Concussion and What should I do if my child has one?


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines a concussion as “a type of traumatic brain injury – or 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 quickly back and forth.” When this occurs the brain can bounce, turn, bruise, or stretch against the skull which damages their brain. This can have negative side effects on the child’s development. A single concussion is easy to recover from, usually a doctor will prescribe rest for a few weeks and then the child will be cleared to resume athletics. While a single concussion is easy to recover from and generally has no long term effects on a child, multiple concussions can lead to a life time of health consequences such as depression, reduced test performance  and even the deadly chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) (Brooks, McKay, Mrazik, Barlow, Meeuwisse & Emery, 2013). The journal of Athletic Training says that a child that has at least one concussion is 3 times more likely to suffer another concussion than one who has not had a concussion (Gissel, Fields, Collins, Dick, & Comstock, 2007).

Since multiple concussions can lead to life long health problems, it is important for parents to recognize the signs and symptoms so that they can get their child proper diagnosis and treatment to prevent further concussions. Whenever a human body collides with another object there is potential for concussions. Not all of these collisions will cause a concussion, so it is important to know the symptoms of a concussion. The above info graphic has the most common symptoms of a concussion. In addition to these symptoms in the info graphic,  it is imperative that parents keep an eye out for the following symptoms in their child:

  • appears dazed or stunned
  • forgetfulness such as not remembering the score of the game
  • clumsy movements
  • slowed speech
  • loss of consciousness no matter how brief
  • mood, behavior or personality changes
  • can’t remember things before or after a fall or hit

Signs and symptoms may not show up immediately, so it can be difficult for athletic trainers and coaches to recognize, but parents should have an easier time identifying these changes in their child. If you think your child has a concussion, take your child out of the game or practice, and keep them out of play for the day. Take them to your health care provider and have them diagnose the concussion and supervise their return to play. Concussions are a serious injury, but with the help of parents across the country we can protect our children and stop this epidemic.


Brooks, Brian & Mckay, Carly & Mrazik, Martin & Barlow, Karen & H. Meeuwisse, Willem & Emery, Carolyn. (2013). Subjective, but not Objective, Lingering Effects of Multiple Past Concussions in Adolescents. Journal of neurotrauma. 30. 1469–1475. 10.1089/neu.2012.2720.

CDC. (2017, April 27). Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html

Gissel, L. M., Fields, S. K., Collins, C. L., Dick, R. W., & Comstock, R. D. (2007). Concussions among United States high school and collegiate athletes. Journal of Athletic Training, 42(4), 495-503. Retrieved December 3, 2017, from https://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/i1062-6050-42-4-495.pdf.