Did you know that 65% of sports-and- recreation-related concussions seen in the emergency department are in children ages 5 to 18 years old?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a forceful hit to the head or any part of the body that causes a rapid movement of the brain. Although a concussion can range from mild to severe, they’re serious injuries that can harm the way the brain works. Some concussions can cause you to lose consciousness but most do not yet, you can still have serious damage.

Symptoms of a concussion may not occur right away so it is possible to have a concussion and not realize it. You should seek emergency care immediately when an adult or child experiences a head injury and symptoms such as: impaired thinking, memory problems, headaches, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, dizziness “seeing stars” and changes in emotions or behavior.

Although concussions often occur in athletes, other causes include car and bicycle accidents, falls, fighting and work-related injuries. If a concussion is sustained during athletic activity, stop play and sit it out. The brain needs to properly heal, so rest is key. Definitely do no resume play the same day. Athletes and children should be closely monitored by coaches upon resuming play. If you resume play too soon, you risk a greater chance of having a second concussion, which can compound the damage.

Successive concussions can have devastating consequences, including brain swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disabilities, or even death. Don’t return to normal activities if you still have symptoms and get a doctor’s clearance so you can return to work or play with confidence.

Here are some common-sense precautions you can take to lessen the possibility of traumatic brain injury:

Wear protective equipment. Participation in high-contact, high risk sports such as football, hockey, boxing, skiing and soccer can increase the likelihood of concussion. Wear headgear, padding, and mouth and eye guards to help safeguard against traumatic head injuries.

Drive and ride smart. Always wear a seatbelt, obey posted speed limits, and don’t use drugs or alcohol because they can impair reaction time.

Don’t fight. Concussions are often sustained during an assault, and more males than females report traumatic head injuries.

When emergencies happen, Ocean Medical Center is committed to providing you and your family exceptional care when you need it most.

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