WHAT IS A CONCUSSION ?
Concussions are most often caused by blows or jolts to the head which usually result in temporary disorientation, short-term memory loss and in serious cases can leave permanent brain damage. They are typically not life-threatening, but the effects of a concussion can be very serious. When the brain is jolted or impacted, it causes the brain to twist and bounce in the skull. This can lead to stretched and damaged brain cells, severe brain swelling and chemical changes that could interfere with nerve communication. A concussion can happen to anyone, which is why it’s important to understand the precautions, protocols and appropriate actions to take when in a situation involving a brain injury. Signs and symptoms of a concussion typically show up soon after the injury occurs. However, at first some people may not know how serious their injury can be since some symptoms may not occur for some hours or days. Rest is important after a concussion because it allows the brain to heal. Continuing rigorous physical or mental activity such as sports, studying, heavy concentration or playing video games may worsen symptoms including headaches and tiredness. After a concussion, mental and physical activity – such as learning and concentration – should be monitored by a medical provider or doctor. It takes time to get back into a normal routine after a concussion and with the help of an experienced medical program and doctor; you’ll recover faster and safer.
Leading Causes Of Concussion
- Playing sports
- Unintentionally being struck by or against an obstacle
- Motor vehicle-related injury
MM HeadStrong Video 2
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF A CONCUSSION ?
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE KNOCKED OUT (LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS) TO HAVE HAD A CONCUSSION.
- Does not know time, date, place
- General confusion
- Cannot remember things that happened before and after the injury
- Knocked out
- Feels dazed
- Feels “dinged” or stunned; “having my bell rung”
- Sees stars, flashing lights
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of vision
- Sees double or blurry
- Stomachache, stomach pain, nausea
- Poor coordination or balance
- Blank stare/glassy eyed
- Slurred speech
- Slow to answer questions or follow directions
- Easily distracted
- Poor concentration
- Strange or inappropriate emotions (ie. laughing, crying, getting mad easily)
- Not playing as well
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECOVER FROM A CONCUSSION?
Most concussions get better with rest and over 90% of athletes fully recover. However, all concussions should be considered serious. If not recognized and managed the right way, they may result in problems including brain damage and even death.
Most concussions occur without being knocked out. Signs and symptoms of concussion (see back of this page) may show up right after the injury or can take hours to appear. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion or if you notice some symptoms and signs, seek medical evaluation from your team’s athletic trainer and a Marque HeadStrong physician or medical doctor trained in the evaluation and management of concussion. If your child is vomiting, has a severe headache, or is having difficulty staying awake or answering simple questions, call 911 or take him or her immediately to the emergency department of your local hospital.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF SOMEONE KEEPS PLAYING WITH CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS OR RETURNS TOO SOON AFTER GETTING A CONCUSSION?
Athletes with the signs and symptoms of concussion should be removed from play immediately. There is NO same day return to play for a youth with a suspected concussion. Youth athletes may take more time to recover from concussion and are more prone to long-term serious problems from a concussion.
Even though a traditional brain scan (e.g., MRI or CT) may be “normal”, the brain has still been injured. Research studies show that a second blow before the brain has recovered can result in serious damage to the brain. If you or an athlete suffers another concussion before completely recovering from the first one, this can lead to prolonged recovery (weeks to months), or even to severe brain swelling (Second Impact Syndrome) with devastating consequences.
There is an increasing concern that head impact exposure and recurrent concussions may contribute to long-term neurological problems. One goal of this concussion program is to prevent a too early return to play so that serious brain damage can be prevented.