What you need to know about concussions

What you need to know about concussions

“I just got by bell rung, I didn’t have a concussion.”

“I wasn’t knocked out, so I didn’t have a concussion.”

“I just feel nauseous, I didn’t have a concussion.”

These are common misconceptions people have about traumatic brain injuries, also known as concussion.

While loss of consciousness happens in some cases, this is not always the case. Concussions have a variety of symptoms and it is much more common for a student-athlete to sustain a concussion without losing consciousness. Instead, they may have a headache, dizziness, feeling foggy, being sensitive to light, having numbness or tingling, or even just feeling nauseous.

What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Balance disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Vision Problems
  • Difficulty in school

If an athlete experiences any symptoms of a concussion, they need to be removed from the game immediately and receive an evaluation from an athletic trainer, team physician or neurologist.  It is recommended that any athlete who has a concussion, no matter how minor, undergo a comprehensive neurologic exam. They  should not return to play until they are completely symptom free.

On Aug. 3, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Senate Bill 7, which requires students who suffer a concussion to receive permission from a doctor or trainer before they may fully return to class or sports.

This law expands on protocols which were already in place in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the state and requires all schools to create a plan for dealing with concussions.

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About the Author

Dr. Joshua Alpert
Dr. Joshua Alpert
Dr. Joshua Alpert

Dr. Joshua Alpert is an orthopedic surgeon on staff at Elgin-based Advocate Sherman Hospital who is trained in sports medicine and arthroscopy. He is a physician with Midwest Bone & Joint Institute, which has served the Chicago area for over 30 years.