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February 25, 2019

They Hit Their Head, Now What? How to Tell if it’s a Concussion  

 Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP

Concussions can happen anytime, but the addition of snow and ice can make winter sports extra precarious. The number of reported concussions has doubled in the last 10 years, and one in five athletes will experience one this year. It’s always cause for concern when someone hits their head, but some concussions require additional attention. Here’s what to look for: 

Seek emergency care immediately if: 

  1. They lose consciousness 
  2. They’re vomiting 
  3. They’re hard to wake up 
  4. They have a seizure 

Other signs are harder to track, and may happen hours after the injury. These symptoms require a closer look by a nurse practitioner:  

  1. A headache, or pressure in their head  
  2. Dizziness, nausea or balance problems 
  3. Trouble paying attention  
  4. Memory problems 
  5. Change in behavior 
  6. Changes in sleep patterns 

Take concussions seriously and contact your provider if you’re worried your child is showing signs of head trauma!