What is a Concussion (kun-kuh-shun)?
A concussion is when you have a sudden hit to your head or your body and hurt your brain. Sometimes when we hit our heads, we don’t get concussions. This is because the brain is protected by our hard skulls and sits in a special protective fluid. But, if you hit your head hard enough, your brain can move inside your skull and can bounce against the skull’s boney surface. Some concussions symptoms can last for a short time and some can last for a long time but all concussions are serious and you should tell an adult when you are not feeling well.
A concussion changes the way your brain works and how you feel. If you hit your head you may feel dizzy or shaky, get sick to your stomach, be confused, or have trouble remembering what happened. You may feel like you’re in a fog and have a headache. Sometimes you can be knocked out or pass out for a short period of time. This could mean you’ve had a concussion. Most people after one injury can usually return to normal; however, getting more than one concussion can lead to more serious problems.
It’s hard to tell for sure if you have a concussion because what you’re feeling can feel like other things you have experienced. Here are some others things that might happen if you hurt your brain:
Trouble Thinking such as:
• Don’t know time, date, place, score in game, opposing team, etc.
• Feel dazed or confused
• Unable remember what happened before or right after you were hurt
• Knocked out or blacked out
Physical Feelings you may have such as:
• Feel like in you’re in a fog
• Feel like your head’s been “dinged” or stunned (e.g. “bell rung”)
• You see stars, flashing lights, two of everything or everything is fuzzy
• Unable to see
• Your ears are ringing
• You have a stomach ache or pain and feel like you want to throw up
• You have a tough time sleeping, or you’re not sleeping the way you usually do (less or more than usual)
Other Feelings or Reactions
- You feel clumsy and have trouble with your balance
- You find yourself staring a lot
- You’re throwing up
- You find it hard to answer questions or follow directions or talk properly
- You’re easily distracted/trouble concentrating
- You may find yourself laughing, crying or getting mad more than you use to
- You’re not playing the way you usually do
Your brain is kind of like jelly and it sits in a fluid that helps protect your brain from everyday shakes and bumps. A hard hit to your head can cause your brain to slide into the inside walls of your skull. You can even get a concussion if you get hit in the neck, face or body because these can cause a sudden jarring of your head. Even a sudden stop, like bumping into the boards, or running into another player can bounce your brain around. This bouncing of your brain causes bruising and can cause many symptoms such as dizziness, headaches forgetting a lot, tiredness, confusion and being sick to your stomach.
Getting your first concussion is bad, getting another one before you are better is even worse. Another concussion will make you feel worse than the first time and it will take a lot longer to get over it. You need to do your best to rest and let your concussion heal fully before getting back to play.
What to Do
The first thing is to stop doing what you’re doing and tell a coach, parents or an adult. Let them know what happened and how you feel. For example, you hit your head on the ice and now you feel like being sick or you’re dizzy.
Return to Play
If you’ve hurt your brain it’s going to take some time to get better. Your parents and doctor can help you with this. You’ll need some extra rest and will have to take it easy for a while. If you take time now you’ll be able to play a long time. Here are some steps to help you get back in the game!
- No activity, complete rest. Once you get the okay from your doctor you can go to step 2
- Light exercise such as walking or stationary cycling, for 10-15 minutes. If you feel really good after doing this then you can move onto the next step
- Sports-like activity (e.g., skating, biking), for 20-30 minutes. Again, if you’re feel good and nothing hurts, then it’s onto step 4
- Practice activities like puck-handling, football drills, shooting drills but with NO CONTACT. If you’re still doing really well and feeling good then you can move onto step 5
- Once your doctor says its okay you can practice with body contact. If that goes well, and you don’t feel anything like you did when you got your concussion then you can go onto the last step.
- Get Back in the Game!