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Concussion Information
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Concussion Information
Concussion Information

Concussions are a risk for any athlete, which is why we have gathered the following information to help raise awareness for families. The Minneapolis Public Schools Athletic Department in partnership with TRIA Orthapedics offers ImPACT baseline concussion testing.  Parents and student/athletes should see their high school building athletic director for additional details.

Please review the information below, which was taken from the National Federation of State High School Associations, as well as the documents on the sidebar. 


Introduction
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal function of the brain. It occurs when the brain is rocked back and forth or twisted inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. What may appear to be only a mild jolt or blow to the head or body can result in a concussion.
 
The understanding of sports-related concussion by medical professionals continues to evolve. We now know that young athletes are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a concussion. Once considered little more than a “ding” on the head, it is now understood that a concussion has the potential to result in a variety of short- or long-term changes in brain function or, in rare cases, even death.
What is a concussion?
 
You’ve probably heard the terms “ding” and “bell-ringer.” These terms were previously used to refer to minor head injuries and thought to be a normal part of collision sports. Research has now shown us that there is no such thing as a minor brain injury. Any suspected concussion must be taken seriously. The athlete does not have to be hit directly in the head to injure the brain. Any force that is transmitted to the head in any matter may cause the brain to literally bounce around or twist within the skull, potentially resulting in a concussion.
 
It used to be believed that a player had to lose consciousness or be “knocked-out” to have a concussion. This is not true, as the vast majority of concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness. In fact, less than 5% of players actually lose consciousness with a concussion.
 
What exactly happens to the brain during a concussion is not entirely understood. It appears to be a very complex process affecting both the structure and function of the brain. The sudden movement of the brain causes stretching and tearing of brain cells, damaging the cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. Once this injury occurs, the brain is vulnerable to further injury and very sensitive to any increased stress until it fully recovers.
 
Common sports injuries such as torn ligaments and broken bones are structural injuries that can be detected during an examination, or seen on x-rays or MRI. A concussion, however, is primarily an injury that interferes with how the brain works. While there is damage to brain cells, the damage is at a microscopic level and cannot be seen on MRI or CT scans. Therefore, the brain looks normal on these tests, even though it has been seriously injured.
 
Recognition and Management
If an athlete exhibits any signs, symptoms, or behaviors that make you suspicious that he or she may have had a concussion, that athlete must be removed from all physical activity, including sports and recreation. Continuing to participate in physical activity after a concussion can lead to worsening concussion symptoms, increased risk for further injury, and even death.
 
Parents and coaches are not expected to be able to “diagnose” a concussion. That is the role of an appropriate health-care professional. However, everyone involved in athletics must be aware of the signs, symptoms and behaviors associated with a concussion. If you suspect that an athlete may have a concussion, then he or she must be immediately removed from all physical activity.