Concussions are common in sports; in rugby, soccer, cycling, basketball, hockey and many more. Concussions occur when a vigorous movement, such as a bump or jolt, causes the brain to move unnaturally fast in the skull, resulting in a change in brain functioning.
In rugby, because concussions are common due to the contact nature of the sport – it is important that both parents and coaches are familiar with the symptoms of a concussion and how they should be treated, should medical staff not be available for assistance.
In order for a concussion to be confirmed, at least one or more of the following visible symptoms should be present.
• A loss of consciousness or responsiveness
• Difficulty in moving after the incident
• Poor balance
• Head pain
• Neck pain
• Decreased concentration
• Confusion or amnesia
• Irritable or more emotional
• Nervousness or anxiousness
• Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
• Sensitivity to noise
Another test for concussion is to ask a series of questions such as:
1. Where are you?
2. Who scored last in the game?
3. Which half is it now?
4. Did your team win the last game?
1. Concussed players need immediate assistance in order to get diagnosed promptly and treated correctly. An undiagnosed concussion can lead to brain damage and mental disability. Alert the coach, team staff or medical assistance staff as soon as possible so that the correct treatment can be administered quickly.
2. The medical assistants will monitor the player for at least an hour and, thereafter, he may be sent home to be monitored if his symptoms improve.
3. If he is sent home, parents need to keep an eye out for any of the symptoms returning. Should symptoms reappear or new symptoms develop, the player should be taken to hospital immediately.
A player may only return to playing sport if no symptoms occur after 48 hours and even then, intense drills or contact should be avoided. By treating concussions correctly, you can significantly reduce the long term effects of the in