It’s time for another Austin Sports Medicine 101 class! Today we’re talking basic facts about concussions and how you should respond if you suspect you, a teammate or a loved one is suffering from the injury.
- What is a concussion? It is the mildest form of brain injury, but can still lead to death and/or permanent brain damage if not treated properly.
- How does a concussion occur? Usually, it is from a blow to the head, but a person can get a concussion by just abruptly stopping, even if he or she does not hit their head.
- What are the consequences of a concussion? Usually, if treated properly, concussions resolve without any long term consequences. But if not treated properly, and sports are attempted while still recovering from a concussion, the concussion can lead to permanent brain damage or even death.
- What are symptoms of a concussion? Headache is the most common symptom of concussion, but it is not always present. Nausea, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light, confusion, difficulty with concentration, behavioral changes, slurred speech, dizziness, blurry vision, sleep disturbance, and emotional changes can all occur.
- How is a concussion treated? The brain must rest. At first this may mean rest from ALL activity including talking on the phone, watching TV, or even reading. Eventually, the concussion resolves and the athlete returns to all activity without difficulty.
- How does a person know when their concussion has resolved? It is difficult to tell sometimes. But generally, three things need to be in place: 1. All symptoms have resolved; 2. The physician’s physical exam of the concussed person is normal; and 3. The person is able to think clearly and use their brain at the same level as prior to the injury.
- How does a person know if they are able to use their brain the same as before? There are computerized tests which can measure concentration, memory and reaction times. If this test is taken before the head injury as a baseline, it can be used as a measure of when the test scores return to normal after the injury.
- Where should a person go if they think they have a concussion? If a person is injured and their symptoms are worsening despite rest, they should go to the ER. If they have symptoms which occur that they think are related to a concussion, they should seek medical care from a physician who has experience with concussions and has the ability to test concentration and memory skills. Otherwise, it may be difficult to tell when the concussion has been resolved. Medicine in Motion has the capability to do a full evaluation.