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Ensure a safe return to sports after a concussion

Fans of pro sports can be disappointed when their favorite player is held out of action due to a concussion. But when you’re a parent of a student athlete, it can be scary when your own child suffers a concussion.

In medical terms, a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can cause a disturbance in coordination, learning, memory and emotions.

A concussion can occur from a direct blow, bump or jolt to the head. It can also result from a blow to another part of the body when the force travels to the head.
ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a simple, low-cost neurocognitive computer test that is first used to establish your child’s baseline, or normal, brain function before he or she suffers a concussion. The test measures verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time to 1/100th of a second.

Concussion signs and symptoms

Under no circumstances should your child return to activity while experiencing concussion signs or symptoms:
  • Altered mental status, including confusion, agitation or anxiousness
  • Amnesia or memory problems
  • Blurred vision, double vision, seeing stars or black spots
  • Dizziness, poor balance, poor coordination or unsteadiness
  • Excessive fatigue or lack of energy
  • Excessive or persistent headache
  • Excessive sensitivity to light or loud noise
  • Feeling “in a fog”
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of orientation
  • Ringing in ears
  • Vacant stare or glassy-eyed
  • Vomiting

When is it safe to return to playing?

With sports concussions coming under increased scrutiny nationwide, Minnesota began imposing legal standards for concussion management in 2011. Under the law, coaches are required to immediately remove athletes under 18 from sports events if they exhibit signs of a concussion. To prevent further injury, young athletes can’t return to action until they get clearance from a health-care professional.

At Fairview, we have expertise in diagnosing and treating sports concussions. We also offer ImPACT testing to help determine when it’s safe for your child to return to his or her sport after a concussion. In the event of a concussion, the test is repeated, the results are compared and appropriate care plans are developed for your child’s safe return to sports. A gradual return to activity gives our care team the opportunity to assess how well your child’s brain is healing.

If you suspect your child has a concussion, contact our Concussion Hotline at 952-460-4440. Otherwise, take steps to ensure that your child is fully recovered in the event of a concussion. Schedule a pre-concussion baseline test for your child at a Fairview concussion testing site closest to you, or talk to the athletic trainer at your school about scheduling a baseline test. Call 612-672-7100.
Discrimination is Against the Law. We comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws. We do not discriminate against, exclude or treat people differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.
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