Concussion is a transient disturbance to brain function that is caused by a traumatic stimulus.
The trauma is commonly, but not necessarily a blow to the head.
Patients often complain of headache, loss of memory and dizziness. It often manifests with poor co-ordination, loss of consciousness or teammates complaining of the inability to perform practiced team plays. Loss of consciousness does not necessarily correlate with the severity of a concussion.
If a player is to be left on the field after a concussive episode, it should be decided by someone who is experienced in treating concussion. If a person plays on with concussion, they are at risk of second impact syndrome (life threatening), prolonging their symptoms and further injury such as a shoulder problem.
Players should be sent to a doctor or the hospital if there is any of the following
- Prolonged symptoms
- Severe headache
- Loss of consciouness
- Uncontrolled vomiting
- Post concussive fit
- Repetitive concussion
- Prior to annual competition, there should be baseline testing
- Post concussion they should
- Not drive
- Not drink alcohol
- Be sent home with a responsible person preferably adult
- When to return to play is best decided by a doctor experienced in treating concussion and may vary dependent upon symptoms
- Mandatory exclusion periods are controversial