Concussion Symptoms and Testing

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When talking about Title IX, the discussion centers on the increased participation of girls in sports and that's a good thing, but there may be a statistic that is less exciting. While football is king in causing sports head injuries in young athletes, girls' soccer can proudly boast being in second place, beating out hockey, basketball, and wrestling. Regardless of the activity, it is estimated that there are more than 300,000 sports-related concussions every year in the U.S., and that number is likely on the low side. Regardless of whether it's a boy or girl, the number of concussions diagnosed in the past 10 years has increased by more than 50%.

Concussion can be an easy diagnosis when the athlete gets knocked out on the field or is slow to get up, but often, concussions are subtle and even the athlete isn't aware that the brain has been shaken. Being unconscious is not a requirement for diagnosis of a concussion, and symptoms can be delayed by many hours from the trauma that has irritated the brain. The symptoms of a head injury may be as subtle as a child having a hard time concentrating in school, having difficulty with homework, or being more irritable at the dinner table. Recurrent headaches, dizziness, and lethargy are more easily recognizable by parents or friends. While the medical literature uses the term minor head injury, there is nothing minor about a brain that has been concussed.

More typical symptoms of a concussion include:

  • headache,
  • dizziness,
  • nausea,
  • a dazed feeling,
  • irritability, and
  • visual problems.