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FutureStarrSymptoms of a concussion
Telling someone you think they might have a concussion is a complicated conversation that should be handled with care. If you aren’t sure, follow these guidelines to help you figure it out.Brain tissue is soft and squishy. It’s surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid, which acts as a cushion between it and the hard protective exterior, the skull. A concussion occurs when your brain bounces or twists inside your skull or experiences rapid, whiplash-type back and forth movement that causes it to collide with the inside of your skull. This brain movement stretches and damages brain cells and leads to chemical changes in the brain.Even mild concussions should not be taken lightly. Neurosurgeons and other brain injury experts emphasize that although some concussions are less serious than others, there is no such thing as a minor concussion. In most cases, a single concussion should not cause permanent damage. A second concussion soon after the first one does not have to be very strong for its effects to be permanently disabling.
University of Pittsburgh's Brain Trauma Research Center reports more than 300,000 sports-related concussions occur annually in the U.S. Additionally, the likelihood of suffering a concussion while playing a contact sport is estimated to be as high as 19% per year of play; in other words, almost all athletes of contact sports suffer from a concussion within five years of participation. It has been reported that more than 62,000 concussions are sustained each year in high school contact sports. Among college football players, 34% have had one concussion and 20% have endured multiple concussions. Estimates show that 4-20% of college and high school football players sustain a brain injury over the course of one season. The risk of concussion in football is three to six times higher in players who have had a previous concussion. Second impact syndrome results from acute and often fatal brain swelling that occurs when a second concussion is sustained before complete recovery from a previous concussion. The impact is thought to cause vascular congestion and increased intracranial pressure, which can occur very rapidly and may be difficult or impossible to control. The risk of second-impact syndrome is higher in sports like boxing, football, ice or roller hockey, soccer, baseball, basketball and skiing. The CDC reports an average of 1.5 deaths per year from sports concussions. In most cases, a concussion, usually undiagnosed, had occurred prior to the final one.
A blow to the head can cause a more serious initial injury to the brain. A contusion is a bruise of the brain tissue involving bleeding and swelling in the brain. A skull fracture occurs when the bone of the skull breaks. A skull fracture by itself may not necessarily be a serious injury. Sometimes, however, the broken skull bones cause bleeding or other damage by cutting into the brain or its coverings. Take a break. If your concussion was sustained during athletic activity, stop play and sit it out. Your brain needs time to properly heal, so rest is key. Definitely do not resume play the same day. Athletes and children should be closely monitored by coaches upon resuming play. If you resume play too soon, you risk a greater chance of having a second concussion, which can compound the damage. The American Academy of Neurology has issued guidelines about resuming activities after a concussion. Hurrying back to sports and other physical activities puts teens at risk for second-impact syndrome. This is when someone gets another head injury before the concussion has healed. Although very rare, second-impact syndrome can cause lasting brain damage and even death. Almost every state has rules about when teens with concussions can start playing sports again. (Source: kidshealth.org)