Whether you are a sports enthusiast, weekend warrior, or concerned parent, you likely know someone who has experienced a sports-related concussion or have experienced a concussion yourself. Every year, nearly 2 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States.

A concussion can have long-term consequences if left untreated, while having persistent symptoms. When diagnosed early and managed correctly by a health care professional, concussion patients experience reduced symptoms and a quicker recovery. Polyclinic primary care physicians and specialists provide collaborative concussion care to help you or your child recover after a sports-related head injury.

When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Not every sports-related concussion is an emergency, but some head injuries do call for a visit to the emergency room. If you or your child experience a head injury during sports activities, followed by any of these serious symptoms, stop all athletic activities and seek emergency care right away.

Symptoms

  • Unusual behavior or confusion
  • Weakness, numbness, slurred speech
  • Difficulty with eye movements
  • Worsening or severe headache
  • Seizure
  • Vomiting multiple times
  • Difficulty waking up or arousing
  • Discharge of clear fluid or blood from the nose or ears
  • Progressive or worsening symptoms

What to Expect After a Sports-Related Concussion

Typically, signs of a concussion occur immediately following the injury, but some may not be noticeable until days or weeks later. Symptoms vary from person to person and usually include a combination of the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating or poor memory
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbances and drowsiness
  • Balance issues
  • Initial confusion, short-term memory lapses, or the inability to recognize people and places
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Mood changes

Even if you are not experiencing serious symptoms, stop athletic activities immediately to avoid re-injury. Do not return to play until a health care professional has evaluated you.

Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider (PCP), sports medicine physician, or neurologist as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of your injury and symptoms, your provider may recommend a more comprehensive evaluation, assessment, and treatment.