Saturday, November 3, 2018

Understanding concussions

Laura Lukye

Laura Lukye, Health Promotion Facilitator, AHS - Now that summer is behind us, it means student athletes everywhere are gearing up to compete in their favorite fall and winter sports. And when kids play sports - especially contact sports like football, soccer and hockey - they are at increased risk for concussions and other serious injuries. But it doesn’t have to be a contact sport for your kid to get a concussion.

As parents, coaches and educators we need to understand the impact of a concussion, signs and symptoms and when it’s ok for an athlete to return to play after a concussion. 

Athletes sometimes joke about ‘getting your bell rung’ or feeling a ‘stinger’ after taking a hit during sports. However, adolescent concussions are common and can have serious consequences. We can’t tell an athlete to ‘walk it off,’ we need to be able to recognize the signs and take the necessary steps to help our athletes. 

So what is a Concussion: Concussion is a brain injury. Any blow to the head, face, and neck, or to the body that causes a sudden shaking or jarring of the brain inside the skull may cause a concussion.

A concussion can result from any number of activities including receiving a check in hockey, falling from a jungle gym, being in a motor vehicle collision or slipping on an icy sidewalk. You do not need to lose consciousness to have had a concussion. (Parachute, Canada) 

Signs and Symptoms: 

Headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue or low energy, sensitivity to light or noise, loss of consciousness, general confusion or fogginess, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering, more emotional, irritability, sadness, nervousness or anxiety. 

What do you do if you expect a concussion: 

You should remove the athlete from the game and seek medical attention. Do not leave the athlete alone. 

Concussions from contact sports is a growing concern amid accumulating evidence of how the injuries can affect a person’s brain over time. We need to take the steps in understanding the concussion basics. For more information and understanding when your child can return to sport please visit

Laura Lukye is a Health Promotion Facilitator with Population Health, Alberta Health Services. She can be reached by e-mail,

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