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Do I Have a Concussion?

School is almost back in session. One of the things we love about this time of the year is the return of some of our favorite sports. From baseball and softball to football, soccer, and basketball… summer and fall are packed with athletic action. While we are so ready for the cooler evenings and the Friday night lights, parents and coaches need to be aware of the risks, like concussions, that come with contact sports.

When it comes to sports injuries, pain, sprains, bumps, and bruises are typically easy injuries to recognize. However, concussions aren’t always so easy to identify. Traumatic brain injuries are sometimes referred to as “invisible injuries.” On the surface you look the same but the outward appearance does not reflect the true impact of the injury the body has sustained.

Concussions are the most common traumatic brain injury caused by a sudden bump, hit, or blow to the head. The human brain has soft tissues cushioned by the spinal fluid and encased within the skull, which forms a protective shell. When a direct hit or blow to the head happens, it can cause the head and brain to quickly move back and forth. This motion forces the brain to bounce or twist in the skull, and can even cause the soft tissue of the brain to crash into the skull itself. Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries can lead to bruising or damage to blood vessels and can also injure the nerves, leading to abnormal brain functioning.

Causes of Concussion

Some people are more prone to falls or accidents than others. A few factors that can increase the risk for concussions include:

  • Playing contact sports like basketball, hockey, or football
  • Falls, especially in children and older adults
  • Car, bicycle, motorcycle, boat, and other accidents
  • Being hit with an object, or other physical abuse 
  • Military service
  • Previous concussions

Signs of Concussion

Diagnosing a patient with a concussion is tricky, even if there are visible bruises or cuts on the head. Signs may appear several days or weeks after the injury. Some signs that can be observed include:

  • Cannot recall events before the fall or hit
  • Easily forgets instructions
  • Responds or answers slowly
  • Appears constantly stunned or dazed
  • Shows behavior, mood, and personality changes
  • Briefly loses consciousness

Symptoms of Concussion

Some symptoms of a concussion last a few seconds, while others linger for a while. Common symptoms reported include:

  • Reports pressure in the head or headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or cannot balance
  • Feeling foggy, sluggish, or hazy
  • Affected by light and noise
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression

Treatment of Concussion

Patients with grade 1 and 2 concussions should rest until other symptoms recede before resuming normal activities. Those with grade 3 require immediate medical evaluation and care. Common remedies include:

  • Pain medications – aspirin-free drugs are prescribed to relieve pain.
  • Rest – regardless of the cause of concussion, you should avoid strenuous activities to avoid risks of being involved in a second concussion.

See the ER on Soncy

Head injuries are an emergency that should be taken seriously. If you or your loved one sustains this injury, make the professionals at The ER on Soncy your go-to for not only concussions, but for any other emergencies you face. If you are not sure about your symptoms, call us at ERS and talk to our knowledgeable staff for help!

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