Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Clayton from Clarksville, OH. Clayton Wonders, “How do you get a concussion?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Clayton!

Do you like to play sports? From exercise to making new friends, there are many reasons sports are fun. Of course, there are also downsides. One is the chance of getting injured.

Have you ever noticed that some sports—like football—require you to wear a helmet on your head? Each sport has its own unique safety gear. This is meant to lower the risk of injury to players.

Even if the sport you play requires a helmet, there’s still a chance that a head injury could occur. Accidents happen all the time. One of the biggest concerns in youth sports today is lowering the rate of one injury in particular—concussions.

A concussion can occur when you get hit in the head or your head hits something really hard, such as the ground. When this happens, your brain shifts suddenly inside your skull. If the soft tissue of your brain makes contact with the hard, bony inside of your skull, it can cause you to lose consciousness. You may also see stars and feel dazed for a while.

Your brain’s impact with your skull can change the way your brain works for a while. Depending on the force involved, a concussion may last for a few hours to several days or weeks.

What are the symptoms of a concussion? A few include:

  • losing consciousness for a few seconds to a couple of minutes

  • feeling shaky, dizzy, or groggy for a while

  • having a headache

  • feeling sick and unable to eat

  • being unable to remember what happened just before and after the injury

Even mild concussions can be very serious. Any injury involving the brain can impact a person’s life forever. Unfortunately, concussions are very common. Over 400,000 kids go to hospitals every year because of head injuries.

Most people recover from a mild concussion quickly. They can resume their normal activities right away. One thing that doctors keep an eye on, though, is multiple concussions. Repeated concussions can lead to serious health problems. This is why many sports now have special concussion rules. They limit a player’s ability to play if multiple concussions have occurred.

If you’ve hit your head and suspect a concussion, be sure to seek help from an adult and get to the doctor as soon as possible. If a doctor thinks you have a concussion, you’ll likely have to go through a series of tests, including a CAT scan. Afterward, the doctor will probably prescribe a lot of rest and follow-up visits to make sure you get better as soon as possible.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2

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