Anyone who knocks their head, (be it playing sport, in a fight or accident) and gets up straight away, still needs to be closely watched. If they show any of the danger signs below, they should receive immediate medical attention.
Likewise, anyone who is knocked out, meaning they are unconsciousness and can't be woken up, even if only for a minute or so needs urgent medical care to exclude a skull fracture or serious brain injury.
After a concussion, you may have a headache or neck pain. You may also experience nausea, ringing in your ears, dizziness, or tiredness. You may feel dazed or not your normal self for several days or weeks after the injury.
The following video by Dr Mike Evans provides a useful summary of the key points to know.
(Dr Mike Evans, 2014)
Concussions are a common type of sports injury. Higher risk sports for concussion include contact activities such as boxing and rugby, but can also occur with virtually any sport with fast movement or balls including cycling, equestrian activities, cricket, hockey and more.
Symptoms of concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) may not appear for hours, days or until you are challenged (physically or mentally) following a head injury.
If you have one or more of the following, check with a doctor as you may have concussion.
Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if you are unsure what you should do.
Treatment for a concussion depends on the severity of your symptoms. See your health professional if you notice any of your symptoms getting worse, or if you have more serious symptoms such as seizures, feeling drowsy, have trouble walking or sleeping. For people with ongoing symptoms, referral through ACC to a Concussion Service may be needed.
If you have suffered a blow to your head or concussion, it is very important to seek medical advice and NOT to return to sports activities or work (where any further injury is a risk) before you have been cleared as safe to do so.
What is a brain injury Brain Injury New ZealandCauses and symptoms of concussions Ministry of Health (NZ), 2014National guidelines for sport concussion ACC (NZ), 2012Multiple concussions Healthline (US), 2012
Daneshvar DH, Baugh CM, Nowinski CJ, et al. Helmets and Mouth Guards: The Role of Personal Equipment in Preventing Sport-Related Concussions. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 2011; 30 (1): 145-163. [PDF]
Gavett BE, Stern RA, McKee AC. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Potential Late Effect of Sport-Related Concussive and Subconcussive Head Trauma. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 2011; 30(1): 179-188. [PDF] Chapter 4: Treatment and Management of Prolonged Symptoms and Post-Concussion Syndrome. Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture. Institute of Medicine; National Research Council. National Academies Press (US); 2014 Feb 4. [link to chapter]