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Play it Safe

Get to know the warning signs of concussion so you can spot them in your child.

Play it Safe

Summer is a great time for sports, from formal soccer and baseball leagues to pick-up games of football or field hockey. Your child may even be preparing to train for fall sports at this point. Sports, both organized and informal, are a great way for children to learn the value of hard work, the importance of fair play and how much fun exercise can be.

There are dangers lurking, however, and both parents and children need to understand the risks. Concussions are always a risk when playing sports, and just about every player is at risk. Knowing the early warning signs of a concussion can help prevent that momentary bump on the head from becoming a permanent injury. Left untreated, damage from repeated concussions can lead to serious long-term problems, from minor memory loss to major behavioral changes and even brain damage.

Whether your child is playing as part of an organized team or just having fun in the backyard after a summer barbecue, if you spot any of these telltale warning signs, you need to seek medical help as soon as possible.

Every minute counts when dealing with a possible concussion, and you do not want to take any chances with your child’s health.

• A blank stare or vacant look

• Confusion or lethargy

• Personality changes

• Behavioral problems like anger or depression

• Slow speech or delayed movements

• Problems with coordination or balance

• Slow reaction time

• Slurred speech

• Memory loss

• Vomiting or nausea

• Loss of consciousness

While that last symptom is thought of as a classic sign of concussion, it is important to note that less than 10 percent of those who actually have a concussion lose consciousness or experience a blackout. If you or your child experience any of the above symptoms, you need to seek medical help, even if no loss of consciousness occurs.

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