What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This rapid movement causes the brain to compress and stretch which can lead to damage of brain cells. Concussions can occur with or without loss of consciousness. It is important to remember that fewer than 10% of concussions result in loss of consciousness.
How common are concussions?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC HeadsUp) estimates that as many as 3.8 million athletes suffer concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) every year in the United States. Sports with the highest rates of concussions include football, soccer, and ice hockey; though significant numbers occur in other sports, including lacrosse, basketball and cheerleading. Other occurances of mTBI typically involve falls, motor vehicle crashes and being struck by an object. Individuals who have had a single concussion are more likely to suffer subsequent concussions in the future.
Young individuals may take longer than college and professional athletes to recover from concussions due to brain development.
When a concussion is suspected the athlete should be immediately removed from play and assessed by an experienced athletic trainer or on-field physician. Athletes who return to play before resolution of their concussion symptoms are at higher risk for significant brain injury.
Common Concussion Symptoms:
- nausea/ vomiting
- blurred vision
- sensitivity to lights
- sensitivity to noises
- "not feeling right" / "feeling off"
- unusually enhanced/ uncontrollable emotions
If you are having any of the following symptoms, please seek emergent medical care immediately:
- severe headaches
- uncontrollable vomiting
- loss of consiousness
- difficulty walking
- difficulty talking
- difficulty staying awake
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