Concussions: More serious than you might think
Posted August 26, 2015
Concussions are no joke. Sometimes you’ll hear in sports how someone got “dinged up” or got their “bell rung.” But that doesn’t express how serious a concussion can actually be.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a direct blow to the head or neck, or a jolt from a whiplash injury. It temporarily changes the way the brain normally works. It’s possible to have a concussion even if you aren’t knocked unconscious.
On the field
In the sports arena, more awareness has been brought to the seriousness of concussions. There are now “return-to-play” laws in all 50 states that say how concussions in school sports must be handled. If an athlete is even suspected of having a concussion, he or she must be removed from the game and must get medical approval before returning to practice or play.
Off the field
Along with sports, there are other common causes of concussions such as falls, automobile accidents, and being hit or colliding with a moving or stationary object or person.
When there are major symptoms of a concussion—seizure, fainting, confusion and/or ongoing vomiting—you should call your doctor or go to the emergency room as soon as possible. Other symptoms to watch for include:
- Memory loss
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Inability to concentrate
- Jerky or unsteady movements
If you have these symptoms, see a doctor. Ignoring symptoms can make them and the condition worse.
Taking care of concussions
Your brain needs to heal after a concussion. And that means physical and mental rest. Rest your brain by avoiding “thinking” activities such as reading, watching television, playing board or video games, and texting.
Going back to normal activities should be done in steps. No one knows how long any person’s recovery will take—whether it’s anywhere from a few days to a few months.
Check out the information available at on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, including the brochure, Facts about Concussion and Brain Injury—Where to Get Help.