Bumps and bruises are part of playing a sport, but should long term brain injuries also be included in this? In recent events, former NFL players have brought a law suit against the National Football League as a result of the brain injuries that they received while playing in the league. Many of these players are still suffering from the effects of these concussions affecting their nervous systems. However, professional athletes are not the only people dealing with the risk of concussions. Each year, more than 400,000 kids are sent to the emergency room with brain injuries and concussions.
There is a great deal of talk about athletes getting concussions, but how can someone know if the result of your fall or collision is a concussion or something lesser?
A concussion is defined as a temporary change in the way that the brain operates when it is suddenly shifted or jerked in a way. Concussions can result from a collision, fall, or traumatic blow to the head and are most common in car accidents, playground injuries, and sports.
Symptoms of a concussion include:
• Headaches or feeling pressure in the head.
• Temporary loss of consciousness
• Confusion or feeling as if in a fog.
• Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event.
• Dizziness “Seeing Stars”
• Ringing of the Ears
• Nausea or Vomiting
Concussions can last for varying amounts of time depending on their severity. Mild concussions can last a short period of time (only a few days) or, if more severe, concussion symptoms can last for weeks. If the brain is severely injured, an individual may experience life-altering disabilities in their movement, learning or speaking.
If a high school athlete suffers a concussion, he or she will be sidelined for a minimum of one week. Coaches and athletic staff should be well versed in this injury and know the protocols for treating athletes. All Long Beach coaches are required to take a concussion safety training course to learn about such protocols and symptoms to look for.
Doctors will conduct some neurological tests of balance, behavior, and mental status. A CT scan may be taken; the scan will provide images of the brain and suspected bruising. Your doctor may also do a MRI which illustrations a detailed picture of the brain using radiation.
If a person thinks that he or she may have a concussion, he or she should seek medical attention from a nurse, physician, or hospital. To protect yourself in an athletic contest, wear appropriate athletic gear at all times. This may include protective eyewear, helmet, mouth guards or any other necessity. Coaches and educators should have discussions about concussions and the dangers of getting one.
Concussions are inevitable in contact sports; however, by wearing the proper equipment and being aware of your surroundings, you can reduce your risk.