Can You Recognize a Concussion?

If you are a teammate, coach, parent, or athlete, it is important to immediately recognize a concussion when it occurs.

Guidelines developed by the Brain Injury Association and the American Academy of Neurology define three grades of concussions:

Grade one:

the injured person is confused but conscious. Some signs are temporary confusion, being dazed, unable to think clearly, and having trouble following directions. These symptoms usually clear up in less than 15 minutes.

Grade two:

the injured person remains conscious, has similar symptoms to grade one, but also develops amnesia. These symptoms last for more than 15 minutes.

Grade three:

the injured person loses consciousness - even if only for a few seconds or longer.

Recognizing a concussion is crucial to knowing if an athlete should go back into the game. He or she first needs to fully recover. The type of concussion will determine how long to wait. It is extremely dangerous for anyone with a concussion to receive a second, even minor, blow to the head. This can cause "second impact syndrome" which has a 50 percent mortality rate.

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