A concussion (a temporary loss of brain function) can happen with any head injury.
Concussions are common, and they don't only happen to athletes on playing fields.
Any student could take a spill, knock his or her head, and get a concussion in a hallway,
on a playground, or in the cafeteria.
Most concussions happen without loss of consciousness. And while most students
with a concussion recover quickly and fully, some signs and symptoms of concussions
can last for days, weeks, or longer. Recognizing concussions and taking the right
steps toward healing can help prevent lasting symptoms or further serious injury.
Signs of concussion include:
confusion, dizziness, or lightheadedness
clumsiness or loss of balance
irritability and other mood or personality changes
nausea or vomiting
loss of consciousness
blurred or double vision
sensitivity to light and noise
Students with a concussion may:
miss class time until they're cleared by a doctor
need to avoid physical education classes, sports, or other physical activities
need to avoid activities that require concentration, such as quizzes or tests
need extra time for instruction
need rest breaks
need more time to complete homework assignments or take tests
Encourage student-athletes to get concussion baseline testing at the beginning
of the school year or sports season. Baseline tests help doctors assess effects of
the injury and healing after a concussion.
If you suspect a student had a possible concussion during the school day, send
him or her to the school nurse right away. If the symptoms are severe (such as seizures
or a period of unconsciousness) or the student's symptoms appear to be getting worse,
get medical help immediately.
Recovery time depends on how long the symptoms last. Treatment is usually physical
and cognitive rest. Healthy kids and teens can usually return to their normal activities
within a few weeks, but each case is different. A doctor should monitor the student
to make sure everything's OK.
In the meantime, understand your student's restrictions about avoiding bright lights,
loud noises, high activity levels, and tasks that require a lot of concentration.
When symptoms end and students are cleared by a doctor, they can begin a supervised,
gradual return to normal schoolwork, athletics, and other activities.