BACKGROUND: A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can occur whenever something causes the head or brain to move quickly back and forth. This could be the result of a blow to the head, a jolt which causes the brain to shake around inside the skull, or many other injuries. In general, concussions are not life-threatening but, a person is at a higher risk of developing serious problems if they have multiple concussions before the brain can fully heal and their recovery time will be longer.
SIGNS: Common signs of a concussion include things like balance problems, difficulty thinking clearly and sensitivity to noise or light. Typically these symptoms will go away with time and rest, but these signs in adults and children could signify a problem that needs medical attention:
- Repeated vomiting
- Cannot recognize people and places
- One pupil is larger than the other
- Extreme drowsiness or cannot be woken up
ROLE OF SPORTS: Sports are responsible for many concussions, especially in children and teens. In fact, children and teens are more likely to suffer from a concussion than adults and it takes them longer to recover. Recreational activities such as riding a bicycle and playing on a playground are also activities with a high number of traumatic brain injuries, like concussions. Although it can be difficult to avoid the risk of concussion while playing certain sports, quick recognition that someone has a concussion and time off from playing the game should prevent any serious consequences. (Source: www.cdc.gov)
COMMON MYTHS: There are many concussion myths, but here are a few along with the truth behind the myth:
- Children recover from concussions at the same rate as adults. – This is untrue. Children and teens actually recover slower than adults.
- Don’t use headache medications because it may hide symptoms. – Taking an over the counter medication for pain from a headache will not cause any further harm and may even be recommended. (Source: www.sportsconcussions.org)