Head & Neck Injuries

These injuries are among the most feared of all sports injuries.
Learn
how you can be prepared.

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Concussions Caused by a blow to the head, concussions are surprisingly easy to miss. Symptoms can be as subtle as having a headache accompanied by fatigue, irritability, disorientation, blurred vision, and confusion.

What To Do If you have any suspicion that an athlete has suffered a concussion, remove them from play immediately for an evaluation, as repeat injury can lead to permanent brain damage. If the player vomits, is unconscious for over a minute, or complains of an increasingly persistent headache, take them to the hospital immediately.

Neck Sprains, Strains, And “Whiplash” Any time a player gets tackled, collides with something, or falls from a height, their neck takes a blow. Too much force on your neck can stretch or tear your tissues, leading to a neck sprain or strain. Athletes who play contact sports are also at risk of whiplash caused by a sudden jerking motion.

What To Do Take a break from your activity, ice your neck, and take some over-the-counter pain medication for relief. If the pain lasts longer than a week or it disrupts your normal activity, see a trainer or doctor.

Burners and Stingers Common in football, burners, or stingers, are named for the sensation they cause: a warm, tingling, electrical feeling down the arm. They occur when the head is abruptly tilted to one side or the head and shoulder are forced in opposite directions.

What To Do If a burner or stinger lasts longer than a few minutes or is felt in both arms, seek immediate medical attention.

Neck Fractures Neck fractures are rare, but they are extremely dangerous. Football players who block with their heads are at highest risk for this injury.

What To Do Never lift or try to move someone who has suffered a neck fracture. This can lead to paralysis and even death. Try to keep the person still with his or her head held straight while someone calls 911.

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