What is a concussion?

Written by on May 22, 2013 in Concussion Articles


What is a concussion?
A concussion is an injury to the head caused by a direct or indirect blow to the head. It is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces. Simply put concussion is an injury to the brain caused by impact against the skull. It can often involve a loss of consciousness but does not in all cases. Concussion can be mild, moderate or severe.

What are the symptoms of a mild concussion?
• Slight mental confusion.
• Possibly some memory loss.
• Mild tinitus (ringing in the ears).
• Mild dizziness or headache.
• Pain in the area of the trauma.
• The athlete will however have normal balance and will not have lost consciousness from a mild concussion.

What are the symptoms of a moderate concussion?

• Mental confusion.
• Post traumatic memory loss.
• Moderate tinitus (ringing in the ears).
• Moderate dizziness or headache.
• Moderate balance disturbance.
• Possible nausea and vomiting.
• Loss of consciousness no longer than 5 minutes.

What are the symptoms of a severe concussion?

• Mental confusion lasting 5 minutes or more.
• Severe tinitus, dizziness or headache.
• Prolonged retrograde amnesia (memory loss of events before the accident).
• Loss of consciousness longer than 5 minutes.
• Possible increase in blood pressure with decrease in heart rate.

What should be done?

• The athlete should be removed from the competition immediately.
• The athlete should not be left alone.
• Professional medical advice and evaluation should be done.
• Avoid contact or collision sports for at least 3 weeks.
• Repeated concussions may indicate retirement from contact sports altogether.

What about returning to sports?

• This should be a gradual process and should be done under the supervision of qualified people. When the athlete does not have any symptoms then they may be able to do light exercise, stationary cycling or walking.
• The next step is to to do sports specific activity without contact for or example running. If there are any symptoms returning then take a step back.
• Next step is on field practice without contact. Again, any symptoms indicate a return to the previous stage.
• When a medical doctor has given the go ahead onfield practice with contact can begin. The time taken to get to this stage will depend on the severity of the concussion.



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