What is a Concussion?

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A concussion is an external force that injures the brain. This can be caused by a moving object striking the head or by a sudden acceleration/deceleration movement without any trauma to the head.

For example, someone can get a concussion from being hit with a ball in the head or by being suddenly tackled. These forces cause a rotational injury in which the brain twists, potentially causing shearing in the brain nerve fibers. This causes a change in the function of the brain and results in a variety of symptoms. There are no visible injuries to the structure of the brain, meaning tests like MRI or CT Scans appear normal.

There is growing awareness of the risks associated with concussions. At Cappino, it is important part of our Sports Program and expertise.

 

What are the symptoms of a Concussion?

Following a concussion, the athlete may experience many different kinds of symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness. It is important to remember that some symptoms may appear right away and some may show up later. Loss of consciousness is not necessary for the diagnosis of a concussion, but if it occurs there should be professional help called immediately. Symptoms may be a little different for everyone although certain combinations of symptoms classically occur.

 

Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Nausea vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Fatigue
  • Light headedness
  • Irritability
  • Disorientation
  • Seeing bright lights or stars
  • Feeling of being stunned

 

Signs

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Decreased playing ability
  • Inability to perform daily activities
  • Reduced attention
  • Cognitive and memory dysfunction
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Vacant stare
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Depression
  • Loss of consciousness

 

What activities or situations make a concussion worse?

  • Loud noises
  • Bright lights
  • Exercise and physical exertion
  • Stress (work or school)
  • Computer screens, TV smart boards
  • Changes in air pressure

 

Who to tell and why?

It is extremely important to seek medical advice after any blow to the head or body in which you suffer signs and symptoms of a concussion. Often, concussions in athletes can go undiagnosed and untreated because few symptoms are visible to casual observers. In fact, many professional athletes do not even know they have had concussions.

Athletes may be reluctant to report symptoms of a concussion because of a fear that they will be removed from the game, or that it may jeopardize their status on a team or adversely affect promising careers. It is important however, to consider the serious repercussions of a concussion. Without proper management, a concussion can result in permanent problems.

If the athlete is aware of the signs of concussion, informing someone will help assure proper medical care. If you think you have a concussion, you should immediately remove yourself from the game or practice.