Concussions and the Athletic Trainer’s Role

unnamedCertified Athletic Trainers (ATC) represent the front lines in the concussion safety battle. The presence of an ATC dramatically increases the chances that a concussion will be diagnosed which is critical in not only avoiding a more lengthy recovery, but also the risk of permanent brain injury. Athletic Trainers have special training and knowledge about sports-related concussions and therefore will know as much, if not more, than other health care professionals.

Here is some general information regarding concussions:

  • A bump, a blow to the head or a blow to the body can cause a concussion.
  • A concussion can happen even if you don’t lose consciousness.
  • If you think you have a concussion, you should not return to play the day of the injury, but wait until a health care professional clears you to return.

Some common symptoms of concussions include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty remembering or paying attention
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Feeling irritable or more emotional
  • Feeling sluggish or groggy
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitive to light or noise
  • Blurry or doubled vision.

So, what should you do if you think you have a concussion?

  • Don’t hide it. Report it. Do not ignore symptoms. Tell an Athletic Trainer or other health care professional.
  • Get checked out. Only a health care professional can tell if you have a concussion and can determine when it’s safe to return to play.
  • Take care of your brain. Rest is very important after a concussion to help your brain heal. Only once your symptoms have significantly reduced should you slowly and gradually return to daily activities such as work or school. If your symptoms come back or new symptoms occur as you become more active, this is a sign you are pushing yourself too hard. Stop all activities and take more time to rest.

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There are a few things you can do if you have a concussion. Be sure to get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day. Avoid all activities that are physically demanding or that require a lot of concentration. Ask your doctor when you can safely drive a car, ride a bike or operate heavy machinery. Do not drink alcohol because it can slow your recovery time.

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