What are the signs and symptoms of concussion?

What are the signs and symptoms of concussion?

Concussion is not just a problem on the rugby field. It can happen in many sports as well as in the playground.

Everyone involved in sport and education has an important role to play in the management of concussion.

The 2017 Duty of Care in Sport review, led by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, recommended that:

  • Training on concussion awareness should be available for all.
  • All contact sports should consider running a pre-season concussion awareness course.

As the rugby season gets underway and the school sports calendar begins again, we are sharing this content from our Concussion Awareness training course, produced in conjunction with our partners, leading sports medicine company, Return2Play.

What are the signs and symptoms of concussion?

There are many signs and symptoms that may suggest a concussion has occurred. Unfortunately, there is no single definitive list of signs or symptoms that prove a concussion has happened. There may only be one symptom present, or there may be multiple signs and symptoms, but the same management applies to all.

It is also important to note that the vast majority of concussions do not have a loss of consciousness (being knocked out). It occurs in less than ten percent of injuries and is not required to diagnose concussion.

The signs of Concussion - what you might see

If any of the following signs are noted, the injured person should be suspected of having sustained a concussion:

  • dazed, blank or vacant look
  • lying motionless on the ground or slow to get up
  • unsteady on feet, falling over, lack of coordination
  • inappropriate or unusual behaviour
  • loss of consciousness or not responsive
  • grabbing or clutching the head
  • seizure (fits).

The symptoms of concussion - what the injured person might tell you

If any of the following symptoms are experienced the injured person should be suspected of having sustained a concussion:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • confusion, or feeling “slow”
  • visual problems
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fatigue
  • drowsiness, feeling like “in a fog“, difficulty concentrating
  • “pressure in head”
  • sensitivity to light or noise.

Often people find it difficult to express exactly how they feel, it is common for then to say “I just don’t feel right”.

Important note

Sometimes the onset of symptoms is delayed by 24-48hrs. If an adult or child has taken a blow that concerns you but there are no symptoms at the time, you should ask them to let you know if they feel unwell at all over the next few days.

Concussion Awareness training course

This content was taken from our Concussion Awareness training course produced in partnership with Return2Play.

The course is available to purchase online or is included in our comprehensive training course packages  for schools and sports clubs/organisations.

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