Protecting Against Brain Injury (Concussion) During Sports Activities
The Michigan Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Services and Prevention Council is distributing information about recognition and treatment of brain injuries (concussions) that can occur during sports activities. This information has been sent to school principals, athletic directors, coaches and staff. The same information is provided below and as a letter in PDF format. Feel free to print and share it with your local sports officials, athletes and families.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some very good resources. These materials may help you, parents/families and athletes identify signs of brain injury - including concussions - and take steps to prevent permanent brain damage to young athletes. The National Football League has recently adopted new policies and protocols with the same outcomes in mind.
Below is a brief summary of basic information about concussions and taking action that everyone should know. Also find links to important documents designed for certain groups that we hope you will share with your coaches, families, and athletes. You may order free copies of all the documents from the CDC using the links below. If you have questions about concussion or brain injury resources and services in Michigan, visit the Brain Injury Association of Michigan website at www.biami.org.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head and can:
- change the way the brain normally works
- range from mild to severe
- occur during practices or games in any sport
- happen even if the person has not been knocked out
- be serious - even for someone who has just been "dinged" or had his/her "bell rung"
An untreated injury to the brain, even a mild one, can dramatically change a young person's course of life.
A second injury to the brain, with no time for recovery and treatment, can lead to long-term disability in an athlete.
Take action if you think a young athlete has a concussion!
- Seek medical attention at once. Consult a healthcare professional who will be able to determine the seriousness of the injury and if and when it is safe for the athlete to return to the game.
- Keep injured athlete(s) out of play. Concussion takes time to heal. Make sure a healthcare professional examines the athlete and says that it is OK for him/her to return to the game.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish
- Feeling foggy or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems (forgetting game plays)
Note that these signs and symptoms can appear immediately after an injury or may surface days or weeks after an injury.
The TBI Services and Prevention Council members were appointed by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Director, Janet Olszewski, to advise public agencies on how to improve public services for Michigan residents with Traumatic Brain Injury. We hope you will find this information useful and that you will share it widely.