A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Even what seems to be a mild bump to the head can be serious. Be alert for any of the following signs and symptoms.
(Children and adolescents are among those at greatest risk for concussion. The potential for concussion is greatest during activities where collisions can occur, such as during physical education class, playground time, or school-based sports activities. Proper recognition and response to concussion can prevent further injury and help with recovery.)
Signs & Symptoms of Concussion
These may show up right after an injury or may not appear or be noticed until hours or days after the injury.
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about events
- Answers questions slowly or repeats questions
- Can't recall events prior or after the hit, bump or fall
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows behavior or personality changes (irritable, sad, more emotional than usual)
- Forgets class schedule or assignments
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Student may report: headache or pressure in head, fatigue, feeling sluggish or foggy, blurry/double vision, sensitivity to light or noise
- Severe symptoms (call 911 and parent): slurred speech, disorientation (unable to recall person, place, time), one pupil larger than the other, drowsiness and cannot be awakened, a headache that gets worse and does not go away, numbness or decreased coordination, unusual behavior, repeated vomiting, loss of consciousness
Treatment of student with a head injury:
- If student fell from a height or experienced a significant blow, suspect a neck injury. Do NOT move or twist the back or neck. Call 911, notify parent and school nurse consultant.
- If no neck injury is suspected, move student to a quiet location where they can be closely monitored
- Observe child for 30 minutes and assess orientation to person, place and time
- If signs/symptoms of a concussion are noted, notify parent and urge immediate follow-up with a medical provider
- If severe signs/symptoms of a concussion are noted, call 911 and notify parent
- Apply a cold compress or ice pack for 15-20 minutes to injured area
- If no loss of consciousness, no signs/symptoms of a concussion, and child reports feeling better, they may return to class
- Notify parent, send home a head injury form
Please notify your school nurse consultant if a student has been diagnosed with a concussion by a health care provider. They may require accomodations at school.