Concussion Q&A

What is a concussion?

A concussion is an injury caused by a sudden blow to the head. Though the brain is normally surrounded by a fluid cushion, the brain can crash into the skull in some cases of a sudden impact. This may cause a temporary loss of normal function, including loss of consciousness, confusion, dizziness, loss of memory, blurred vision and other symptoms. An athlete with any concussion symptoms should not return to play without further evaluation.

What if I suspect my child has a concussion?

If you think your son/daughter has sustained a head injury, it is important that they immediately be taken out of activity. In some instances, the signs of a concussion do not become obvious until several hours or even days after the injury. Your child should also follow up with the athletic trainer upon returning to school for an ImPACT post-concussion test. Further follow up with a doctor certified in ImPACT testing may also be necessary. To schedule an evaluation or post-concussion test, please call (903)323-6582 or email sportsmedicine@gsmc.org.

Please be especially observant for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Headache* (especially one that increases in intensity)
  • Nausea and vomiting*
  • Difference in pupil size from right to left eye, dilated pupils*
  • Mental confusion/behavior changes
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Changes in gait or balance
  • Blurry or double vision*
  • Slurred speech*
  • Noticeable changes in level of consciousness* (difficulty walking or losing consciousness suddenly)
  • Seizure activity*
  • Decreased or irregular pulse or respiration*

* If you observe these symptoms, seek medical attention at the nearest emergency department.
The best guideline is to note symptoms that worsen and behaviors that seem to represent a change in your child. If you have any concerns about the symptoms you are observing, seek medical attention at the closest emergency department. Otherwise, you can follow the instructions outlined below.
It is OK to:

  • Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headaches
  • Use ice pack on head and neck as needed for comfort
  • Eat a normal diet
  • Go to sleep
  • Rest (no strenuous activity or sports)

Do NOT:

  • Drink alcohol
  • Drive while symptomatic
  • Exercise or lift weights
  • Use a computer or text messaging
  • Watch TV
  • Take aspirin

There is NO need to:

  • Wake up every hour
  • Test reflexes
  • Stay in bed

For more information on the Return to Play Protocol, please visit the University Interscholastic League (UIL) website.
The Good Shepherd Sports Medicine Team, along with our neurological specialists, is in the process of developing a return to play protocol in agreement with each of our contract schools. We encourage parents of student athletes to contact your school administrators to find out if they use the ImPACT concussion program.

For More Information

For more information about sports medicine, please call 903.323.6582 or email sportsmedicine@gsmc.org.

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