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What to do if you suspect concussion

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What should you do if suspect concussion in a player?

You must remove them from play right away. Continuing to play increases their risk of more severe, longer lasting concussion symptoms, as well as increases their risk of other injury:

  • You should not let them return to play that day
  • You should not allow them to be left alone
  • You should make sure they are seen by a health care practitioner as soon as possible that day
  • You should not let them drive

How is a concussion treated?

Concussion symptoms are made worse by exertion, both physical and mental. The most important treatment for a concussion is:

  • The player should not exercise or do any activities that may make them worse, like driving a car, reading, working on the computer or playing video games
  • If mental activities (e.g. reading, concentrating, using the computer) worsen their symptoms, they may have to stay home from work, college or school
  • If they return to activities before they are completely better, they are more likely to get worse, and to have their symptoms last longer

Once they are recovered, and cleared to do so by a health care practitioner they can start a step-wise increase in activities – see When can a concussed player return to rugby?. If possible, they should be seen by a doctor with experience in treating concussions.

Can it be anything more serious?

Anyone with a suspected concussion should be seen by a health care professional as soon as possible. They will usually give instructions to the injured person to return to them or go to hospital immediately if they have a worsening of symptoms such as:

  • Drowsiness when normally awake or cannot be awoken
  • A headache that is getting worse
  • Weakness, numbness or decreases in coordination and balance
  • Repeated vomiting or prolonged nausea
  • Slurred speech, difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Increasing confusion, restlessness or agitation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions
  • Clear fluid coming out of ears or nose
  • Deafness in one or both ears

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The information contained in this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for appropriate medical advice or care. If you believe that you or someone under your care has sustained a concussion we strongly recommend that you contact a qualified health care professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The authors have made responsible efforts to include accurate and timely information. However they make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of the information contained and specifically disclaim any liability in connection with the content on this site.


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