Sports-related concussion can be difficult to diagnose and manage as the symptoms are often subtle, said Dr Dinesh Sirisena, who is a consultant at the sports medicine department at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
What a concussion does is to temporarily impair how the brain functions and processes information. It is a brain injury.
A patient who has had a concussion may have physical symptoms such as a headache or drowsiness and mental symptoms like memory loss.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, the concussion signs observed by parents include:
• Can't recall events prior to or after a hit or fall;
• Appears dazed or stunned;
• Moves clumsily;
• Answers questions slowly; and
• Loses consciousness, even if briefly.
Some of the symptoms reported by children who may have had a concussion include:
Sometimes, the symptoms show up only a day or a few days later. Parents should continue to check for signs of concussion right after the injury and for a few days after.
• Headache or "pressure" in head;
• Nausea or vomiting;
• Problems in balancing or dizziness, or double or blurry vision;
• Bothered by light or noise;
• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy;
• Confusion, concentration or memory problems; and
• Not "feeling right" or "feeling down".
Sometimes, the symptoms show up only a day or a few days later. Parents should continue to check for signs of concussion right after the injury and for a few days after. If the signs worsen, head to the emergency department right away, the CDC advised.
"If someone is having a persistent headache, nausea and a change in their overall demeanour, it may warrant a more urgent assessment," said Dr Sirisena. It is important to understand that a concussion is serious, he said. If it is suspected, seek help and do not rush to return to play, he stressed.
A concussion that occurs while the brain is still healing from the first injury can lead to long-term problems such as headaches or chronic fatigue, said Dr Sirisena.
In order to let your brain heal, complete rest, physically and mentally, is needed, he added.