173,285 — that’s the number of sports-related traumatic brain injuries annually in children 0-19 years of age. We’ve all heard the hype about concussions in football, but football isn’t the lone cause of concussions. The reality is, it could happen at any given time, and is something that we all need to be aware of.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain (CDC Heads Up, 2017).
Management for concussions has changed over the last decade. Most of you reading have probably always went by the rule-you can’t go to sleep if you have a concussion. This is no longer true. In fact, physicians want you to get more rest following a concussion, so that you can minimize brain strain and have time to heal. Signs and symptoms of a concussion vary depending on the individual. Some signs and symptoms that you should look out for include: headache, confusion, difficulty concentrating or paying attention, dizziness or problems with balance or coordination, feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy, feeling irritable, more emotional or “down”, nausea or vomiting, bothered by light or noise, double or blurry vision, slowed reaction time, sleep problems and loss of consciousness. Although concussions do not always cause a loss of consciousness, it is extremely important to monitor and report the signs and symptoms of a concussion to a physician. Participating in recreational activities, work or driving can cause increased strain on your brain and prolong recovery time.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has experienced a concussion, please see a physician. Concussion resources are available in Lima at the Lima Memorial Concussion Clinic. They are staffed with a physician and an athletic trainer who are both certified by ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) who can help assist you in treatment and provide recommendations to facilitate your recovery.