Many individuals all over the world end up with concussions while playing sports. Concussions typically occur in various sports and affect all athletes that range from professional players to little leaguers. It is important to note that concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries yet have become a significant issue.
Recognizing a concussion and providing correct care is vital for the younger athletes since it usually takes a longer time for them to fully recover than the adults. Additionally, parents, coaches and school administrators must be well aware that a concussion can cause a variety of symptoms and disrupt not only with participation in sports but with social and school relationships. Many athletes fully recover from a concussion and understanding these symptoms can help with the healing process.
What is a concussion?
Even today, it is still uncertain whether any damage to the brain occurs from a concussion. Imaging tests such as CT scan and MRI do not detect any brain damage such as bleeding or bruising.
It is important to note that a concussion can momentarily impair the functioning of the brain and how it processes information. After sustaining a concussion, the individual might have a hard time with coordination and balance, speech and memory.
Remember that a concussion is usually short-lived. Many can recover within 7-10 days. Unfortunately, once an individual sustained a concussion, he/she is at risk for additional concussions. Repeated concussions can lead to lasting consequences, thus prevention is vital.
Concussion occurs when a strong force causes the brain to rapidly move back and forth within the skull. This can be caused by either a direct blow or by a blow to the body which forces the head to rapidly rotate.
Even though some sports have a higher risk for this injury such as soccer, football and ice hockey, it can occur in any sport or recreational activity.
What are the symptoms?
Due to the potential for lasting consequences of concussions, it is vital that you know how to recognize the symptoms. Take note that the symptoms are not always apparent. There are various symptoms that can manifest immediately or delayed for several days.
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Changes in the sleeping pattern
- Balance issues and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty speaking
A vital point to include in the treatment of a concussion is complete rest. This is not just physical rest, but also the mind as well. Watching TV, reading, playing video games or computer work must be reduced until all symptoms subsided. This usually takes 7-10 days but some still experience the symptoms for weeks or even months after sustaining the injury. To learn to recognize and manage head injuries including a concussion, enroll in a first aid and CPR course with a credible provider near you.
Once the individual is free from symptoms, he/she can gradually return to physical and mental activity. It is vital to steadily return to daily activities since being symptom-free does not mean that the brain has fully healed. The doctor will recommend a step-by-step program which involves adding an activity and monitoring the symptoms. In case the symptoms do not return, he/she can continue increasing the challenges.