We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Advice for Patients |

Youth Sports and Concussion Risk FREE

Megan A. Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, Writer; Fred Furtner, Illustrator; Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH, Editor
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(4):396. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.79.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Athletes sometimes joke about “getting your bell rung” or feeling a “stinger” after taking a hit to the head during sports. However, adolescent concussions are common and can have serious consequences.

 Image not available.


A concussion is a type of brain injury. The brain is made of soft tissue and is surrounded by a cushion of spinal fluid. The skull surrounds the brain and protects it. A person can injure their brain by getting hit on the head, or even the body, resulting in the brain moving around in the skull. This can lead to bruising of the brain, damage to blood vessels, and injury to nerves. People can get a concussion from a fall, a car crash, or a sports injury.


One of the most common ways children and adolescents get concussions is through sports injuries. A recent review estimated that up to 3.8 million recreation- and sports-related concussions occur each year in the United States. The sport with the highest risk of concussion in high school is football. In girls' sports, the rate of concussion is highest in soccer and basketball. Girls have a higher rate of concussion than boys when they are in similar sports. Young athletes' brains are still developing, thus they may be at higher risk for the effects of a concussion. The way in which the injury happens may be very important in predicting how serious the injury will be. This was described in a study in this month's Archives.


The signs and symptoms of concussion fall into 4 categories:

  • Physical: Headache is the most frequently reported symptom of a concussion. Nausea and vomiting can also occur. Problems with balance, vision, and fatigue are also common.

  • Cognitive: A feeling of mental “fogginess” or feeling “slowed down” are also common. Loss of memory is a symptom that suggests a more serious injury.

  • Emotional: Symptoms may include irritability, sadness, or nervousness.

  • Sleep: Symptoms may include feeling drowsy and sleeping more than usual. However, some patients sleep less than usual and have difficulty falling asleep.


  • If my child is in a soccer game and hits his head, the concussion should be “toughed out” until the end of the game.

    False. Children or adolescents who have a concussion, or parents or coaches suspect they have one, should always be evaluated by a qualified health care provider before returning to play.

  • You do not have a concussion if you did not lose consciousness.

    False. A concussion often does not result in loss of consciousness; brain injury occurs even without this.

  • My child had a concussion and her pediatrician said she should take a break from playing basketball and from playing video games.

    True. After a concussion, all athletes should be restricted from physical activity until they have no symptoms both with rest and with exercise. Physical and cognitive exertion should be avoided. Activities such as doing homework, playing video games, using a computer, or watching television may worsen symptoms. A return to full activities should only occur under the guidance of a qualified health care provider and should stop if symptoms return with activities.

  • A concussion can take weeks or even months to fully recover from.

    True. Symptoms of a concussion usually resolve in 7 to 10 days, but some athletes may take weeks or months to fully recover.



To find this and other Advice for Parents articles, go to the Advice for Parents link on the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine website at http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/.


Source: American Academy of Pediatricians

Box Reference

The Advice for Patients feature is a public service of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your child's medical condition, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine suggests that you consult your child's physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles