In sports and everyday life, minding your head is a top priority. A fall, hit to the head, or car accident are among some of the many possible causes for one of the most common brain injuries, concussions.
Concussions occur when the brain is shaken back and forth within the skull or when it hits against the skull. Symptoms of a concussion can last days or weeks and sometimes longer. While most concussions are considered a mild to medium head injury, multiple concussions and severe concussions can lead to permanent brain damage. This makes it imperative that even the most mild of concussions be taken seriously, and if symptoms persist, treatment should be sought immediately. (Health Line)
A long range of symptoms may signify the occurrence of a concussion. Symptoms may appear immediately or overtime after injury. Symptoms may include:
- Sleep issues such as trouble falling asleep, sleeping more than usual or less than usual
- Blurred vision
- Vomiting and nausea shortly after injury
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Trouble balancing
- Irritability, anxiety, sadness, heightened emotions
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering new information, and problems with thinking clearly (MidAmerica Orthopaedics)
While a concussion can happen to anyone, there are certain factors that may increase the risk of injury. Athletes in high contact sports like football, rugby, soccer, or wrestling are at a higher risk of suffering from a hit to the head and in turn, concussions. For athletes playing contact sports, the use of a helmet and proper technique cannot be stressed enough. In addition, individuals who have experienced a concussion before may be at a higher risk of a second concussion and longer recovery time. (American Association of Neurological Surgeons)
If symptoms persist, or serious symptoms like continuous vomiting, loss of consciousness, slurring speech, or inability to recognize faces occur, it's time to see a doctor. Whether or not a possible concussion was experienced during a sporting event, a sports medicine specialist will be well equipped to diagnose a concussion.
To diagnose a concussion, a sports medicine specialist will perform a physical and neurological test, checking balance, memory, vision, reflexes and coordination. In severe cases, an MRI or CAT scan may help in diagnosing any skull injuries and brain inflammation or bleeding. (Medline Plus)
In most cases, treatment for a concussion involves following the doctors orders with at home treatment. Plentiful rest, over-the-counter pain medications like Ibuprofen, and avoiding strenuous activity will typically lead to a full recovery. In extreme cases that involve bleeding or inflammation in the brain, surgical treatment may be required. While treatment for a concussion may seem simple, it is still important to get a formal diagnosis and have a physician guide treatment to insure no lasting brain damage occurs. (Health Line)
If you’ve experienced head trauma and believe you may have suffered a concussion, book a visit with MidAmerica Orthopaedics. At MidAmerica Orthopaedics’ Sports Medicine Clinic, our highly trained sports medicine specialists can provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan. In addition to diagnosis and treatment, the Sports Medicine Clinic provides injury prevention education tools for athletes to help them in protecting their brains and stay in the game.
Dr. Beverlee A. Brisbin
Dr. Beverlee A. Brisbin specializes in non-surgical treatment for sports injuries including concussions. As the sports medicine doctor for the USA Women’s Soccer Team, Dr. Brisbin has the experience to treat both professional athletes and non-athletes alike. Dr. Brisbin and the team at MidAmerica Orthopaedics’ Sports Medicine Clinic will have you back to your daily routines in no time.
MidAmerica Orthopaedics serves various areas such as Chicago, Palos Hills, Mokena, New Lenox, Oak Lawn, Burbank and more.