Increasingly, coaches and players alike are realizing that tough competition means taking real risks. Children, adolescents, and adults playing sports understand that injuries can happen. However, a sports concussion is not “just part of the game.” It’s a serious injury that can change a player’s life and take them out of more than just the game. But serious consequences of sports concussion can be prevented with the proper precautions. Coaches know: When in doubt, take’m out. When a player gets a blow to the head, whether in a contact sport or because of a fall, the risk of a serious traumatic brain injury is in the hours just after the injury. If a player is sent back into the game while still experiencing the effects of concussion, the effects can be very long lasting, and they can affect more than just the game. If experiencing dizziness, memory difficulties, “mental fogginess,” fatigue, balance problems, attention and concentration difficulties, nervousness, confusion, nausea, headache, or other symptoms of concussion, sit it out!
A brief neuropsychological evaluation after a sports concussion can determine if a player is ready to return to the game. If a player is not ready to return to the game, a longer neuropsychological evaluation will determine the severity of any brain injury and provide treatment recommendations.