Important Things to know about Concussions

Concussions can be very serious, these injuries are often missed.  A concussion may occur from a blow to the head directly (from hitting the windshield, dash, steering wheel, headrest, etc.).  This is called “coup” and may result in swelling or bruising of the brain, which is very serious, and could ultimately lead to permanent brain injury, or death.  However there is another type that could happen without hitting your head on anything. For example, if your head suddenly changes it’s direction (such as in whiplash) and the brain is still moving inside your skull,  and the skull suddenly reverses direction, that momentum continues to move the brain forward until it actually hits the skull inside.  This is called “counter coup.” The head didn’t actually hit anything, but the brain bounced around the inside of the skull, this can have the same kind of injuries as a direct hit to the head. And it can cause bleeding and swelling to the brain.

Concussions that are so serious, many sports authorities will not let a player that is suspected of suffering from a concussion to return playing without their doctor’s release. There may be a chance for a repeat of that injury (which is called Second Impact Syndrome) which has claimed lives of several athletes each year.  That can happen even if the person is feeling ok, and gets hit in the head again way too soon.  That’s why many football players have to stay out several games, even though they have been paid millions of dollars to play.  If there is a small hemorrhage or swelling on the brain, it potentially could be life threatening.  If you think you, or a loved one has sustained a concussion, please seek immediate medical attention.  Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?  The wife of famed actor Liam Neeson, Natasha Richardson, passed away after what appeared to be a minor fall while skiing. This caused some epidural bleeding which gave her the symptom of a headache.  Before anyone realized what was wrong, it was too late and she passed away.  If you suspect a concussion, seek immediate medical attention and try to avoid sudden movements.

Some possible symptoms of a concussion to look for:

  1. Dizziness
  2. Headache
  3. Fatigue
  4. Nausea
  5. Hearing loss/ ringing in ears
  6. Visual changes (Seeing stars, spots, flashing lights, double vision)
  7. Feeling “dinged,” foggy, stunned, dazed
  8. Loss of balance
  9. Poor concentration
  10. Convulsions
  11. Irritability or emotional changes
  12. Loss of consciousness

If any of these symptoms occur, these should be a warning, keeping an eye on the person, and seek medical attention immediately.  There are different levels of severity of concussion.  Always pay careful attention to symptoms and seek medical attention to avoid a tragic mistake.

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