What is a Concussion:
There are many different definitions currently for a concussion. American Academy of Neurology and Committee on Head Injury Nomenclature of the Neurological Surgeons are the two most widely accepted. “Any trauma induced alteration in mental status that may or may not include a loss of consciousness.” (AAN)
“Clinical syndrome characterized by immediate and transient post-traumatic impairment of neural functions.” (Committee on Head Injury Nomenclature of Neurological Surgeons)
Concussions occur from children to adults but highest prevalence around high school athletes. Approximately 125-300/100,000 Americans suffer from a concussion every year. Concussions occur in all sports but the two most common sports are football and hockey. Most concussions result from a direct helmet to helmet hit, but can also occur from jarring and spinning motions of the head that occur with blocking, being tackled, or being hit.
A concussion may cause any of the following:
- Blurry vision
- Balance issues
- Difficulty concentrating
- Nausea or vomiting
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Tingling in hands or feet
- Ears ringing
- Slurred speech
- Sensitivity to light and noise
Concerns of Concussions:
The biggest concern from a concussion is second impact syndrome. After sustaining a concussion a 2nd hit to the head (which can be minor like head jarring from shoulder brushing) can disrupt the auto-regulation of the brain and the amount of blood entering and leaving the brain is not in homeostasis. This leads to cerebral edema that results in herniation of the brain through the foramen magnum and is fatal.
Another concern from a concussion is post-concussive syndrome. This is when concussive symptoms are persisting for more than 1 week. Headache, dizziness, difficulties with concentration and memory are the most common symptoms associated with post-concussive symptoms.
If You Suspect a Concussion
If you think you or someone else has suffered a concussion:
- Stop all sports immediately and talk with your coach, trainer or a family member at once.
- Get to a doctor ASAP for an evaluation by a physician who specializes in concussion management (a primary sports medicine doctor, neurologist or neurosurgeon). Only a specialist can properly monitor your condition and provide accurate guidance about when it’s safe to return to sports.
Our physicians and rehabilitation experts are here to provide one-on-one care throughout treatment. Please contact our concussion trained physician to evaluate you today.