*Information on concussions provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/Concussion.
HEADS UP: Concussions in Sports… A Fact Sheet for Parents & Students
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 and could be a concussion.
On April 14, 2012, Governor Heineman signed into law LB260, the Nebraska Concussion Awareness Act that took effect July 1, 2012. There are three primary components of the act:
Training must be made available to all coaches on how to recognize symptoms of a concussion and how to seek proper medical treatment.
Athletes and parents must be provided concussion information that includes: signs & symptoms of a concussion, risks posed by sustaining a concussion, and actions athletes should take in response to sustaining a concussion.
Removal of Athlete
An athlete presenting signs or symptoms of a concussion must be removed from participation and may not return to participation until evaluated by appropriate licensed health care professional.
Written and Signed Clearance for Return to Play
An athlete removed from participation with signs or symptoms of having sustained a concussion must have a written and signed clearance from both an appropriate licensed health care professional and the athlete’s parents before the athlete may return to play.
A Licensed Health Care Professional means a physician or licensed practitioner under the direct supervision of a physician, e.g. PA-C or APRN; a neuropsychologist, an athletic trainer, or a qualified individual able to (a) provide health care services where doing so falls within one’s scope of practice in Nebraska, and (b) is trained in the evaluation and management of traumatic brain injury among a pediatric population.
For further details please visit www.nebsportsconcussion.org
What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
You cannot see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of a concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days after the injury. If your child reports one or more symptoms of a concussion listed below, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, keep your child out of play and seek medical attention right away.
Signs Reported by Students:
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”
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
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
STUDENTS—If you think you have a concussion:
Tell your coaches & parents. Never ignore a bump or blow to the head, even if you feel fine. Also, tell your coach if you think one of your teammates might have a concussion.
Get a medical check-up. A physician or other licensed health care provider can tell you if you have a concussion, and when it is okay to return to play.
Give yourself time to heal. If you have a concussion, your brain needs time to heal. While your brain is healing, you are much more likely to have another concussion. It is important to rest and not return to play until you get the okay from your health care professional.
What parents/guardians should do if they think their child has a concussion?
- OBEY the NEW LAW.
- Keep your child out of participation until s/he is cleared to return by a licensed healthcare provider.
- Seek medical attention right away.
- Teach your child that it’s not smart to play with a concussion.
- Tell all of your child’s coaches and the student’s school nurse about ANY concussion.
How can you help your child prevent a concussion? Every sport is different, but there are steps your child(ren) can take to protect himself/herself from a concussion and other injuries.
- Wear the right protective equipment for the activity. It should fit properly, be well maintained, and be worn consistently and correctly.
- Encourage your child to follow their coaches’ rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
- Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.