What You Need to Know About Concussions — Know Before Your Teen Suits Up for Fall Sports

Just a small hit?  Small hits add up.   Sub concussive impacts are blows to the head that aren’t quite strong enough to cause concussion symptoms.  But when they are repeated over time, research shows these hits can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — lasting damage to the brain tissue.  they happen during most football tackles, soccer headers and lacrosse body checks.

Girls could be more susceptible.  Although, researchers aren’t quite sure why, it may be because females have smaller heads and necks.  A new study found young women also experience concussion symptoms for twice as long as boys, perhaps because preexisting conditions that affect recovery (such as migraines and anxiety) are more prevalent in females.

Concussion tech is evolving.  Scientists have developed new helmets and even a collar to provide better protection for the brain.  Sports organizations can also buy mouth guards that record the details of head impacts (including location, force and direction) and send alerts to their coaches.

Symptoms can occur at once or in a few days.  Immediate signs of a concussion include headache, loss of consciousness, confusion and nausea.  You should also be on the lookout for memory issues, irritability, sleep disturbances and sensitivity to light and noise — symptoms that may pop up hours or days later.  If you suspect a concussion, it is time to see a doctor right away!