Concussions have caused a lot of controversy in the world of sport in recent years, inspiring scandalous news reports and even high profile Hollywood movies.
Even with all this coverage, a lot of people may not appreciate exactly what it is about certain activities that can cause this serious condition, even if it is fairly common and should be treated immediately. Some people do recover quickly from a concussion with a few weeks rest, however, for those in the world of sports, multiple concussions are more common (guide from Cognitive FX) and your chances of long-term symptoms invariably increase.
To dispel some myths and clear up key questions, here is a quick look at why a concussion might occur and what makes it such a problematic sports injury.
While the intricacies of neurology may be baffling to most people, the explanation of the causes of concussions is mercifully simple. It is essentially a type of brain injury that is temporary in nature, rather than being considered permanent.
Participants in sports of all kinds can suffer concussions in the event that their heads are impacted by a significant force. This can be delivered directly by a blow or a bump from an object or another person, or it can occur indirectly if an individual is jolted on another part of their body and the shockwaves travel up to the brain.
The reason that these types of impacts result in a concussion is that your brain is literally being shaken within the confines of your skull, hitting the sides and resulting in disruption. The fact that up to 3 million people a year are treated or hospitalised for brain injuries shows the extent to which this issue is prevalent across the country.
The presence of a concussion can be detected through a number of key symptoms exhibited by most sufferers. This can include dizziness, feelings of nausea and of course a headache that comes on shortly after the impact has occurred.
Other signs to look out for include slurring, an inability to remember the event that caused the injury, uncharacteristic tiredness and lethargy, brief loss of consciousness and other immediately obvious, unusual changes to sensory perception.
Some or all of these issues should occur almost as soon as the injury takes place, although it is also worth noting that it can take a few hours for sufferers to become aware of them in certain cases.
Wearing all of the correct protective clothing that is mandated for the sport or activity in question is always the best means of avoiding a concussion or an even more serious traumatic brain injury which might have permanent effects.
If you or one of your teammates shows signs that they are concussed in the course of play, it is always vital to stop participating straight away. You can do more harm if you are concussed and not functioning normally, so no matter how much fun you are having you will have to sit the rest of the game out.
While individual concussions can be healed by the body with no lasting problems, repeated concussions are likely to do irreparable damage, so stay aware of these dangers to avoid serious risks.