In Case of Concussion


University of Utah Health Care

Concussions are a scary injury. Dr. Hawryluk from University of Utah Health Care joined GTU today to give some great information about concussions. Educate yourself about concussions before tragedy strikes!

The Centers for Disease Control estimates between 1.4 and 3.6 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur each year with the majority happening in high school.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury. It is often not life threatening, but the effects can be serious.
How do you get a concussion?
Sports related injuries are a common cause, as are falls and car accidents. In a study published last fall in the Journal of Pediatrics, sport or recreation causes account for 50% of all concussions. Of these, the top 5 causes from greatest to least include: Bicycle, Football, Playground, Basketball, Snow skiing. Others close behind include soccer and skateboarding.
What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully, but for some, symptoms can last for days, weeks or longer. There may not be loss of consciousness or amnesia to the event.
Symptoms may include the following:
  • Physical Symptoms:
  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Feeling tired
  • Emotional Symptoms:
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Nervousness
  • Cognitive or Thinking Symptoms:
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • ‘mental fogginess’
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Sleep Related symptoms:
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking frequently

Some symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for days after an injury.

When to seek immediate medical attention:
  • Headaches that get worse and won’t go away
  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • One pupil of the eye larger than the other
  • Convulsions or seizures

Additional tips for protecting student athletes:
•Make sure children have pre-participation physical exams.
•Children should wear protective gear such as helmets, pads, and proper footwear. Equipment should be maintained and in good, safe working condition.
•“When in doubt, sit ‘em out” – if your child has a concussion or may have had a concussion, it is best to remove them from play and be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare provider
•For children over 12 and heavily involved in contact or high risk sports, consider having a ‘preseason baseline’ of cognitive functions performed, which can be done with a computer based test that takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
•Children should have proper conditioning that includes warm-up exercises and stretching.
•Coaches should be accredited by a coaching organization, have basic first aid knowledge, an understanding of child development (physical, biological and social), and tailor programs to the child’s physical maturity level, skill level, ability to learn new skills, and level of enthusiasm.

University of Utah Health Care
50 N. Medical Drive SLC, UT 84132
(801) 581-2121

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