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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    • That’s OK, Samuel! Guessing the next day’s Wonder is just one of the fun parts of visiting Wonderopolis! We think learning new things and sharing what we learn are SUPER FUN, too! :-)

  1. No! :( I was wrong. Today’s wonder of the day is not about headaches. However, I loved today’s wonder! :D I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about food in Africa.

    TJ

    • Hi there, TJ! Headaches are one of the warning signs that someone might have a concussion, so we think you were really close with your guess! Thanks for visiting today’s Wonder and THANKS for being an AWESOME Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Thanks so much for letting us know you liked learning about concussions by exploring today’s Wonder, Betsy! Thanks, also, for sharing about your classmate and her concussion. We hope she was OK!

      We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today…YOU ROCK! :-)

  2. Thanks for showing this wonder. I’ve heard many descriptions, but this is the one I understand completely.

    I’m thinking couscous for tomorrow, because of my mom watching so many cooking shows.

    • It makes us really happy to hear that today’s Wonder helped you understand about concussions, Logan! Thanks for letting us know that! We really like your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, too! The word, “couscous” is super fun to say, isn’t it? :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your guess for what tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day® might be about, Julia! We like your guess and hope you’ll visit Wonderopolis again tomorrow to learn some cool new facts with us! :-)

  3. I think tomorrow’s Wonderopolis is going to be how is food in Northern Africa different from food we eat in North America?

    • That’s an AWESOME guess about tomorrow’s Wonder, Lia! We are WONDERing about all the amazing foods people in other countries eat! It’s fun to learn new things each day in Wonderopolis, isn’t it? :-)

    • Hello, drman! Thanks so much for letting us know you liked the title for today’s Wonder of the Day®! We’re glad you stopped by for a visit and to learn some awesome new things with us today! :-)

  4. Hello, Wonderopolis! Today’s WONDER OF THE DAY was the best so far! I think tommorow’s wonder is going to be about foods in Northern Africa like, rice, noodles and bread.

    Thanks again for the wonder. Your wonder friend, Jordyn from Minnesota

    • Hi, Jordyn! We’re SO SUPER glad you liked today’s Wonder and thought it was the best one so far! We really like your idea for tomorrow’s Wonder, too! Thank you for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  5. A couple of years ago I was playing catcher for our church softball team when I got hit in the head by a foul ball. I went to the doctor the next day and they said I had some symptoms of a slight concussion. Brain Injuries, large or small, are important things to take care of since there is really no telling what might happen as a result. Thanks for sharing about such an important topic!

    • Thank you for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder about concussions, Melissa! They ARE super important to learn about! We appreciate you visiting Wonderopolis and leaving us a GREAT comment…you are a WONDERful Wonder Friend! :-)

    • We are super sorry to hear that about your friend, Haley and Elaine! :-( We hope he or she is OK now, and healed quickly from the injury. Thanks for sharing your connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  6. I had a concussion when I was at after-school. This boy threw a ball very hard at my face and I hit my head on the ground afterwards, then my teacher let me lay down for an hour then I was all better!
    Here is advice when you get one: just lay down and rest and mabye you’ll be better.
    Sincerely Danielle :)

    • YIKES, we’re glad that you feel better, Danielle! It’s important to tell an adult if you are ever hit or feel dizzy, just like you did! Thanks for being a great Wonder Friend! :)

    • Hey there, Laura, Wonderopolis is part of an organization called the National Center for Family Literacy! We are a place to make learning and WONDERing fun and exciting… and we’re glad you’re here! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is a concussion?
  • What are the symptoms of a concussion?
  • How can you prevent a concussion?

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Try It Out

Ready to use your head? Whether you play competitive sports or just like to ride your bike around the neighborhood, there’s always a chance that an accident could happen. If you use your head, though, you can protect your head from serious injury.

Here are a few tips you can use to prevent a concussion in case of an accident:

  • Wear a helmet! If you’re riding your bike, skateboarding or playing football, make sure you wear proper protective gear for your head. Accidents are common in these activities, so it’s always best to be as safe as possible. Some kids think helmets aren’t “cool,” but neither are concussions!
  • When you’re jogging or riding your bike around your neighborhood, always be on the lookout for cars. Obey all traffic laws and look both ways before you cross streets. A little caution can save you a big headache later!
  • Buckle up! No matter how far you’re going or how safe you think a vehicle is, always wear a seatbelt when you ride in a vehicle. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so it’s always best to make sure you’re protected from harm as much as possible.

Still Wondering

Listen to Science NetLinks’ Brain to Brain Interface podcast to hear Christopher James tell how scientists have successfully transmitted information from one brain to another.

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Come hungry to Wonderopolis tomorrow. We’ll taste a food that’s popular in Northern Africa!

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