Most people are familiar with the idea of a concussion, but not everyone realizes just how serious this injury can be. The effects of that bump to the head can linger for weeks.
What Is a Concussion?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains it like this:
“A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.”
Concussions can be mild or severe. You may not even realize you have a concussion. They are common in contact sports like football, rugby, and lacrosse, but can occur in any situation where your body is jolted or you are hit in the head, such as during other sports, during a fall, or if something falls off a shelf and hits your head.
Keep in mind that concussion symptoms don’t always show up immediately, and they might be very mild. They may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Amnesia about the event that caused the concussion
- Dizziness or problems with balance
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ongoing effects may include problems with memory or concentration, irritability, sensitivity to light and noise, or changes in sleeping habits.
What to Do If You Suspect a Concussion
It’s important to take concussions seriously, particularly because it’s difficult to know the extent of the injury. If the person loses consciousness, has a severe or lingering headache, has one pupil larger than the other, experiences seizures or severe nausea, or continues to be confused or to act strangely, it’s important to seek medical attention.
If you get a concussion during a sporting event, do not return to play without consent from a doctor. It could take several days or even weeks before you get back in the game. The American Academy of Pediatrics also says that a child may not be able to return to school immediately after a concussion. Each person and concussion is unique, so the treatment plan is customized to suit individual needs. Generally, recommended concussion treatment includes rest and a gradual return to light activity, then moderate activity, and finally normal activity.
If you suspect a concussion contact us immediately for an appointment. If you have any questions about the effects of concussions or how to identify them, our team of professionals is more than happy to provide the answers. Hampton Roads Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine provides concussion treatment for both athletes and non athletes alike.