Do you have a child that plays sports? Are you a current or former athlete yourself? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then you ABSOLUTELY need to read this immediately. The information below is absolutely vital for you to understand… and may even save you or your child’s life. The reality is that nearly every athlete is susceptible to concussions, and the facts may surprise you.
What is a concussion?
Accounting for nearly 2.5 million ER visits each year in the US, a concussion occurs following a blow to the head or body, and contrary to popular belief, being knocked unconscious is not a necessary component of having one. Understanding the signs and symptoms of concussion is critical in order to know what to expect in terms of symptom presentation and any potential long-term consequences that could arise as a result. Fortunately, the majority of cases do not demonstrate long-term structural changes in the brain and symptoms typically subside approximately 7 to 10 days following time of injury.
However, between 5-15% of individuals suffering from concussion continue to experience ongoing symptoms, lasting anywhere from weeks, months, to even years. The current scientific literature is unclear as to why these individuals undergo chronic symptoms, but theorize it could be due to a number of reasons, including pre-existing medical or psychiatric factors, drug/alcohol abuse, post-TBI (traumatic brain injury) development of psychiatric condition (i.e. major depressive disorder, PTSD, etc.), and/or repetitive TBIs. The strongest evidence points towards the individuals who have experienced previous concussions having the highest probability of developing chronic symptoms.
So why is concussion awareness so important?
- By learning about the signs and symptoms of concussion, parents, coaches, athletes, etc. can speak up and ensure proper medical care and recovery takes place. Understanding the significance of a full recovery is critical, as a premature return to play can increase the likelihood of more chronic, long-term damage and even more serious brain injuries. In fact, not only is a premature return to play strongly advised against, but failure to diagnose a concussion may lead to a rare, but fatal form of brain injury termed second impact syndrome (a condition that occurs after acquiring a second TBI prior to the symptoms subsiding from the first TBI). Within seconds to minutes of the second brain injury, severe cerebral edema (swelling) and brain herniation (pressure against the skull) takes place and can lead to a fatality within minutes.
- To recognize the variability in how each individual responds to concussions. One person may recover within days, while it may take another months/years. There is not one factor that can help predict how long someone’s recovery may take. For those who’s symptoms last longer than the typical 7-10 days, post-concussion syndrome may occur, causing emotional (i.e. depression, anxiety, anger, irritability, etc.), cognitive (i.e. inattention, poor concentration, slow processing speed, poor organization/planning), and physical (i.e. headache, nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light and noise) deficits. One could imagine the devastating impact such persistence of symptoms can have on the injured person’s quality of life.
- So athletes acknowledge the seriousness of head injuries and avoid placing their long-term health at risk of developing future, more serious conditions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) by placing pressure on themselves to return to play before they are fully recovered. The passion and love athletes have for their sport, and the added pressure from media/professional associations can often motivate them to place their personal needs second to that of the game. Having a long-term trajectory of the potential devastating symptoms that could persist over the course of one’s life will reduce the likelihood of such poor judgment, no matter what the circumstances may be.
- So those faced with concussion know they are not alone, as the recovery process can become isolating at times. Identifying with others who are going through the same thing can empower those who may be experiencing feelings of hopelessness/depression. Whether it be in person or virtually via the internet, connecting with others can serve as a powerful support system to overcome the day to day challenges one may come across during recovery. Sometimes it’s easier to discuss our concerns with those who are not directly linked to our lives. More importantly, given the inconsistency in concussion treatment and management across health care professionals, alternative treatments that may not be as popular in mainstream media may be shared from one person to another.
These are just a few of the many reasons as to why concussion awareness is important. As the scientific evidence continues to grow regarding the profound impact concussions can have on the lives of injured persons, spreading the word and continuing to learn about the most effective forms of recovery and care is crucial in preventing long-term symptoms and conditions that could arise in the future.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has suffered a concussion, please share this article and click here to learn more about concussions and how trusii H2 is the most natural and safe treatment currently available.