Football concussions can be very serious, and many people are attributing the increasing rise of youth flag football to the growing safety concerns of full contact football in pads. But even in flag football, concussions can still happen and as a player or youth flag football coach, it’s imperative you know how to recognize a football concussion and what symptoms to keep an eye out for. Take a look at the following list for more information on how to recognize and respond to concussion like symptoms.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury typically resulting from blow to the head or body, that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull, usually resulting in temporary unconsciousness and swelling of the brain.
What Causes a Concussion?
Usually a blow to the head or body can cause a concussion. However, a collision with a player or object can also cause a concussion. If the hit is hard enough, causing your brain to impact the inside of your skull, you can get a concussion of varying degrees.
- Football concussions, or concussions of any kind, are an injury to the brain
- Every concussion is serious, although recovery can vary
- Concussions don’t always mean loss of consciousness
- Correct management and recognition when a concussion first appears can prevent injury or death
Signs and Symptoms of Football Concussions
- Seems dazed or stunned
- Forgets the play
- Unsure of the game, opponent, team or score
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness
- Change in personality or behaviour
- Can’t remember what happened before the impact
- Balance is off
- Headache or head pressure
- Vomiting or feeling sick
- Double vision, or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish
- Struggling to concentrate or remember
- Doesn’t “feel right”
Recognizing a Possible Football Concussion
Football concussions do happen. With people running around falling and sometimes colliding – it isn’t uncommon that someone could fall victim to a concussion, but as a coach, would you know when you saw it? Always watch out for:
- A sudden blow to the body or head that results in the athlete’s head violently moving
- Any sign in an athlete’s behaviour (including communication, physical and mental)
What NOT to do if you Suspect a Football Concussion
If you suspect a concussion of any severity, it’s critical to seek immediate medical attention in a hospital or emergency department. In the mean time, in the event of a football concussion, here are a couple things NOT to do.
- Do not resume physical activity. An increase in heart rate can worsen the effects of the concussion.
- Aggressive mental activities such as playing video games, working on a computer, watching TV and others can also worsen the effects.
- Do not drive. Obviously this is meant for an adult with concussion symptoms, but you should not drive for 24 + hours while concussion symptoms linger.
- Do not take pain relievers. Aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Aleve can increase the risk of bleeding and are not recommended.
Youth flag football coaches should all be trained to be keenly aware of football concussions and their symptoms, as recognizing symptoms early can go a long way into preventing the long term effects that brain injuries can cause.
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