Concussions can happen to any athlete, any time

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- When you think about concussions, you may think about boys on the football field. However, doctors warn concussions can happen to any athlete and they do not need to be engaged in a contact sport.

Ask the talented soccer player Sydney Daubendiek at the University of Houston. Daubendiek recently returned to the field after sitting out because of her concussion. Eyewitness News caught up with her at college. Daubendiek described her painful symptoms.

"It was a really sharp pain. It felt like my head was going to explode. It didn't go away," said Daubendiek. "I blocked the shot with my face. The next day we had a game. I went and played and got hit in the head ... and realized I had a concussion afterwards."

Sports medicine physician Jocelyn Szeto said parents need to be on the lookout for signs of concussions especially with younger children.

Dr. Szeto with the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute and UTHealth said common signs include headaches, feeling like you're in a fog, or loss of consciousness. She said a concussion is an injury sustained when an athlete or a person sustains a blow to the head.

"Concussions don't just have to be head to head. It can be a whip lash or a cheerleader who comes down hard," said Dr. Szeto. "There are a variety of mechanisms."

Dr. Szeto said the road to recovery can be complicated. Athletes must be evaluated immediately. She said the sooner physicians can recognize a concussion, the sooner they can be pulled from activity. Once a concussion is diagnosed, cognitive rest is key to recovery.

There is a "six-step return to play protocol" starting with light activities and progressing to more full on contact play, Dr. Szeto says. She also explained any type of brain stimulation or "screen time" can be bothersome.

"When they're not at school or not at practice, they really should be sleeping and staying well hydrated," said Dr. Szeto. "Trying to eliminate movies, television, texting, or work on computers. All of these things can really stimulate the brain and make the symptoms of concussions really worse."

Dr. Szeto stressed if left untreated, concussions can result in chronic or long term effects. They also can impact a child's ability to concentrate and learn in the classroom. She said make sure you get your child evaluated if you feel they could have suffered a concussion.

As for soccer player Sydney Daubendiek, she's excited to be back on the field and back in the action. Daubendiek said she just wants to help the Cougars win.
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