Concussion 101

A concussion happens when the brain moves within the skull

A concussion is a brain injury that can happen from impact, either to the head or body, or anything that causes quick acceleration or deceleration of the head.  This could even be a slight blow that happens during a game, practice, ski run or a tumbling pass. Simply put, a concussion happens when the brain receives enough force to move it quickly inside of the skull. There does not need to be a significant amount of force of force to cause a concussion.

The majority of concussions occur without a loss of consciousness

It is still a common misconception that a person needs to be knocked unconscious in order to have a concussion.  The truth is, an athlete can be concussed with – or without – a loss of consciousness. We now know that the vast majority of concussions happen without a loss of consciousness.

There is no quick, or simple, test to definitively diagnose

Concussions are not as easily diagnosed as other injuries, for example orthopedic injuries such as a broken bone or a twisted knee. This is because often there is little objective evidence of concussion, and diagnosis is primarily subjective and based on symptoms.  In addition, each concussion presents differently, both between individuals and in the same individual if they have had multiple concussions. Sideline tests can assist in assigning of level of suspicion of concussion – but they are intended to be used as one tool as part of a larger examination.

Anybody can get a concussion, at any time

These are not injuries limited to full contact sports, such as football and hockey.  Any athlete that is moving is at risk for concussion including gymnasts, wrestlers and cheerleaders. Athletes, male and female, of any age, need to be aware of concussions.

Concussion is not an injury that should be “shaken off”

Concussions must be taken seriously, bottom line.  While we have made great strides, unfortunately it is still the mindset of many athletes, coaches and others in sports that injuries are something to be overcome to prove toughness. Obviously some injuries like bumps and bruises are minor, and the athlete can continue to safely play through the momentary discomfort. But a concussion is not something to be “overcome” in the name of “toughness”.

See the right clinician for concussion diagnosis and treatment

The best person to help an athlete who may be concussed is a neurologist who specializes in treating athletes. That’s where IBJI Sports Neurology  comes in. Dr. Anthony Savino is a specialist in helping athletes with concussions and other neurological issues.

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