Healthy Tahoe: Spot signs of concussion

Jeremy Vandehurst

As school spins up and student athletes return to fall sports, it’s important to be aware of signs and symptoms of a concussion/ mTBI (mild Traumatic Brain Injury).

Jeremy Vandehurst

A concussion is a type of TBI caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth, as in whiplash. Even what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious if it causes a concussion.

Kids who play contact sports are often at risk for concussion, which can put sports—and life—on hold. Concussions can cause a range of short- and long-term problems, and they can affect thinking and memory, vision, balance, language, and emotions.

Observable signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

Appears dazed or stunned



Moves clumsily

Can’t recall events

Nausea or vomiting

Balance problems or dizziness

Blurry or double vision

Sensitivity to light or noise

Concentration or memory problems

Mood, personality or behavior change

Feeling slowed down

Any change to an athlete’s behavior, thinking, or physical functioning.

If you suspect a concussion, it is advised to seek medical attention by visiting the emergency department, urgent care or your primary care physician for initial management. Do not return to play or activity until evaluated by a health care professional experienced in concussion management. The concussion professional will provide an individualized evaluation on when to start a gradual return to activity based on the elimination of symptoms.

Jeremy Vandehurst, MA, ATC is a certified athletic trainer and concussion coordinator with Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. Learn more about concussion.

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