The first 48 hours post-concussion are vital in minimizing health risks from concussion and ensuring an optimal recovery timeframe.
During this period parents, coaches, teachers and other responsible adults are encouraged to monitor the athlete as closely as possible for the onset of signs of more severe complications.
The risks of epidural haematomas and subdural haematomas may manifest hours or even days after the head trauma.
If the player is unconscious basic first aid principles apply. Protect the player’s neck and secure an open airway. Urgent hospital referral is necessary for any player who has lost consciousness as a result of a blow to the head or body.
What to do in the First 48 Hours
- Consult a concussion care provider medical doctor as soon as possible.
- If discharged from hospital, ensure the athlete is under the supervision of a responsible adult.
- Monitor and record any symptoms of concussion such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory lapses, mood swings, poor concentration and any other unusual feelings.
- After being discharged from ED, make an appointment with your GP doctor to start the return to school and sport process.
What to Avoid in the First 48 Hours
- Anti-inflammatory medication and aspirin.
- Bright light and loud noise.
- Computers and television.
- Exercise, until cleared by a medical doctor.
- Mobile devices for longer than one to two hours each day.
- Driving a motor vehicle.
- When to Go to Hospital
- Visit a hospital immediately if:
- The skull is fractured
- The trauma has penetrated the skull
- The athlete has lost consciousness
- There is a deterioration in the conscious state after the injury
- Confusion levels increase
- The headache becomes more severe as time passes
- Persistent vomiting is present
- Convulsive movements are present
- Focal neurological signs
- The player has sustained additional concussive injuries in a match or training session
- The athlete is a child
- The athlete is at higher risk (haemophiliacs, users of anticoagulant medicine)
- The injury was high-risk, such as a high velocity impact or a missile injury
- The athlete received inadequate supervision following the injury
Concussion Observation Best Practice at Night
Uninterrupted sleep is thought to be the best medicine for mild concussion symptoms. The only time it’s recommended to periodically wake the patient to monitor symptoms is if there was loss of consciousness or amnesia at the time of the trauma, or the signs of concussion such as headaches, vomiting, dizziness or sensitivity to noise and light are still present.
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