It’s back to school time, which means back to preseason sports practices and workouts! Concussions are a hot topic recently, but despite an increased awareness of education and long-term brain effects, many adolescent and adult athletes continue to ignore signs of a concussion and continue playing. Continuing to play with ongoing symptoms, especially in adolescents, may lead to longer recovery times for future concussive episodes and increased brain damage not demonstrated in adult brains.
According to the CDC, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury 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. They are considered brain injuries and should be taken seriously. One difficulty with concussions compared to other orthopedic injuries is the high reliance upon athlete reported symptoms to accurately diagnose a concussion.
Concussion symptoms may vary depending on age or sex, but most include the following:
– cannot recall events prior to or after hit/fall
– appears dazed/stunned
– forgets instructions
– moves clumsily
– answers questions slowly
– headache or “pressure” in head
– nausea or vomiting
– balance problems or dizziness
– bothered by light or noise
– feels sluggish, hazy or foggy
All adolescent athletes should know the signs and symptoms of a concussion and should understand the importance of taking themselves out of practice or the game if they experience these symptoms. Emphasis should be placed on their recovery for not only the short-term, but also to avoid long-term consequences. Recovery includes removal of screen stimuli (TV, phone, IPad), adequate sleep, and gradual return to mental challenges including schoolwork and athletics.
A trained medical professional, including the physical therapists at L A R Physical Therapy, can help you recover from a concussion and get back on your feet! Call 410.381.1574 to schedule or email us for more information.