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Concussions: What you need to know

A concussion is one of the most common injuries in young people playing sports. On average a young person suffers a concussion whether it be mild, moderate or severe every 5,000 minutes of game time.

How do you know if you have a concussion?

Concussions are usually associated with unconsciousness but in most cases that isn’t true. If you have a concussion, you might show some symptoms including:

  • A headache that isn’t relieved by painkillers
  • Dizziness and feeling dazed or stunned
  • Feeling sick or vomiting
  • Loss of memory before or after the injury
  • Unusual behaviour such as being irritated more often or struggling to stay awake
  • Having blurry vision

All of these symptoms are a cause for concern, and if you have them, you should seek medical assistance immediately.

When to call 999

Usually, a concussion in sport can be seen by a doctor or a physiotherapist. However, there are some cases when 999 must be dialled. These include:

  • Someone being knocked out
  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Problems with their vision
  • Problems with speech, walking or balance
  • Clear fluid coming from their ears or nose
  • Bleeding from their ears or behind them or bruising behind the ears
  • A black eye with no obvious damage around the eyes.

You should also call for an ambulance if someone needs to go to hospital, but you cannot get them there safely.

Recovering from A concussion

If you’re diagnosed with a concussion in hospital, you’ll be able to go home when any serious brain injury has been ruled out, and you’re starting to feel better. However, most people feel back to normal within a few days or weeks of going home. There are also certain things you can do to help speed up your recovery such as:

  • Getting plenty of rest and avoiding stressful situations
  • Asking someone to stay with you for the first 48 hours to ensure any problems can be dealt with immediately
  • Taking paracetamol if you are in pain however ibuprofen is not recommended as they can cause more damage and the same with aspirin
  • Gradually increasing your activity after a couple of days of rest
  • Avoid sports or stressful activities for at least a  week. However, a doctor will usually specify how long you should rest.

If you ever feel like the symptoms are getting worse or not going away then see your GP immediately or even if you have any questions about your injury. For extra information visit these websites:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/concussion/pages/introduction.aspx

http://www.englandrugby.com/my-rugby/players/player-health/concussion-headcase/

http://www.thefa.com/get-involved/fa-concussion-guidelines-if-in-doubt-sit-them-out

Remember if you’re in pain while playing sports or you don’t feel right then let somebody know immediately. Coaches, teachers and parents are there to help.

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