A knock to the noggin. A bump on the head. Call it what you want, but every 21 seconds someone in the U.S. experiences what is medically known as a concussion or traumatic brain injury. A concussion is an injury to your brain that causes problems with how the brain works.
These injuries can be relatively minor or devastatingly severe. They can be especially dangerous -- even deadly - if a second concussion occurs before the first has enough time to heal. Kids that play sports are at a greater risk of head injuries, so it's important to take safety precautions to avoid head injuries, such as wearing appropriate safety equipment. Parents and coaches should be aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion.
Common physical symptoms of concussion include:
- Low-grade headache or neck pain
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Feeling lightheaded
- Ringing in the ears or trouble hearing
- Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily
- Nausea or vomiting
- Feeling fatigued or tired
- Increased sensitivity to sounds, light, or distraction
- Change in sleeping pattern, sleeping more than normal or trouble sleeping
Common mental and emotional symptoms that could be indicators of concussion include:
- Trouble remembering things
- Trouble paying attention or concentrating
- Difficulty organizing daily tasks
- Difficulty with making decisions and solving problems
- Slowness in thinking, acting, speaking, or reading
Mood instability or changes such as:
- Feeling sad, anxious, or listless
- Becoming easily irritated or angry for little or no reason
- Lacking motivation
Consult with a doctor serious symptoms such as confusion or vomiting occur after a head injury.