Do you like to play sports? From exercise to making new friends, there are many positive aspects of playing sports. Of course, there are also negative aspects, like the chance of getting injured.

Have you ever noticed that some sports — like football — require you to wear a helmet on your head? Other sports, though — like soccer — don't require helmets. Each sport has its own unique safety gear that's required to reduce 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, and one of the biggest concerns in youth sports today is reducing the risk of a particular type of head injury called a concussion.

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, see stars and feel dazed for a while.

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

Some common symptoms of a concussion 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 has the potential to 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 mild concussions quickly and can resume their normal activities right away. One thing that doctors keep an eye on, though, is multiple concussions.

Repeatedly suffering concussions can lead to serious health problems in the future. This is why many sports now have special concussion rules that limit a player's ability to play if multiple concussions have occurred.

If you get hit in the 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.

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