FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - A concussion can change the way a brain normally works and is a type of Traumatic Brain Injury, caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Even a "ding," "getting your bell rung," or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head, can be serious.

It's important to know the signs of a concussion and the proper measures to take if a concussion is suspected. A TBI is an injury suffered by athletes in all sports, so it is crucial that coaches and parents, as well as players, all recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

Signs a player may have a concussion (while on the field):

Appears dazed or stunned
Is confused about assignment or position
Forgets plays
Unsure of game, score or opponent
Loses consciousness (even briefly)
Shows behavior or personality changes
Can't recall events prior to or after the hit or fall

Governor Jay Nixon signed Missouri's concussion legislation into law on July 8, 2011, which requires education of coaches, parents and athletes, and removal from play of any athlete suspected of having sustained a concussion.

The law also requires written authorization from a medical professional before the athlete can return to practice/game.

What should a coach do if a concussion is suspected?

Remove the athlete from play.
Ensure the athlete is evaluated immediately by an appropriate health care professional.
Inform the athlete's parents/guardians of the possible concussion.
Allow the athlete to return to play only after an appropriate health care professional clears his or her return.
If a player is experiencing any of the symptoms above, an immediate evaluation should be conducted at a hospital emergency room.

Our TBI staff is actively engaged with our patients, committed to providing well-coordinated care that promotes and optimizes health. If you have questions regarding TBI, please feel free to contact the General Leonard Wood Army Community Behavioral Health Division.

For more information on concussions, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/index.html

(Editor's note: Melissa Tatiana Ferreire is a former traumatic brain injury psychometrician at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital)

Page last updated Tue November 27th, 2012 at 00:00