While a concussion can result from even a fall or blow to the head that seems minor, the effects of this brain injury can be quite serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an untreated concussion can cause long-term disability or even death.

If your child plays sports, you should know the signs of a concussion so you can act quickly if he or she suffers a head injury during a game.

Athlete-reported signs

Seek medical attention if your child experienced a head impact or severe blow during a game as soon as he or she reports or displays one of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling of pressure in the head
  • Trouble balancing
  • Light or noise sensitivity
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Confusion
  • Memory or concentration issues
  • Unexplained low mood
  • Sluggish or foggy feeling

Adult-observed signs

Sometimes, you or your child’s coach notices an issue before your child complains of symptoms. These signs may include:

  • Inability to recall events just before or just after a fall or head impact
  • Changes in behavior, mood or personality
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slow speech
  • Clumsy movements
  • Confusion about the game or general time and place disorientation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Stunned or dazed appearance

After a head injury, your child should leave the game and return to play only when a doctor says it is OK to do so. A second concussion shortly after the first can potentially be disabling or fatal.

If severe health consequences result from a head injury during sports, your family may have a personal injury lawsuit if the school, coach or organization acted negligently in allowing your child to continue play.