Are you already marking the calendar with your kids’ soccer or football practices? As you or your kids prepare for fall sports, it’s important to put safety first. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares how to prevent head injuries and how to recognize signs of a concussion.

What is a concussion?

Nurse Rose: A traumatic brain injury, or a concussion, is a common sports-related injury. In fact, each day 153 Americans die from a traumatic brain injury, or concussion.

A concussion is caused by a bump or jolt to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. They can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth.

What are the signs of a traumatic brain injury?

Nurse Rose: If you or your child sustains a head injury, watch for these signs of a concussion.

  • Headache or pressure in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Drowsiness
  • Poor concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupils or difference in pupil size from left eye to right eye
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Decreased or irregular pulse or breathing
  • Mood changes
  • Loss of consciousness

If you notice these symptoms, see a doctor or call 9-1-1 in the case of life-threatening emergency.

Can signs of a traumatic brain injury be delayed?

Nurse Rose: Yes, sometimes it’s not clear that a concussion has occurred and symptoms may present later. Athletes who have sustained a head injury may have a concussion if they:

  • Are confused about assignments or positions
  • Forget instructions such as sports plays
  • Are unsure of the game, score or opponent
  • Move clumsily
  • Answer questions slowly

If you notice these symptoms, stop activities immediately and seek medical attention. Contact your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.

Rose Melendez, RN

Rose Melendez, RN

Head of Emergency Department

Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.

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