What is a Concussion?

A concussion often occurs when a person experiences severe head trauma that causes an injury to the brain. Individuals can suffer serious head injuries while in an automobile accident, playing sports or falling and hitting their head on a hard surface, such as concrete.

When a severe head injury occurs and the spinal fluid that protects the brain is unable to withstand the extreme force of the blow, the brain will strike the skull with such a heavy impact that it damages the brain.

What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?

Individuals who have a concussion can exhibit various mental and physical signs.

Symptoms include

Physical signs include headaches, feeling dizzy, unsteadiness, blurred vision, tiredness, upset stomach and vomiting. Mental signs of a concussion are problems with concentration, forgetfulness and the inability to think clearly. Sleep patterns are often interrupted after a concussion and individuals may either sleep less or more often than they normally do. Issues with falling asleep are also common. Mood changes frequently occur and individuals may feel irritable, sad or anxious. Symptoms may arise soon after the concussion or it may take weeks or months until individuals begin to show signs of the injury.

Concussions Causes

Concussion results from a disruption of the brain’s normal activities, usually due to a head injury. A concussion can result from any substantial blunt force shock to the skull, such as being hit on the head with an object, a fall, a sports injury, or a car accident. A common cause of concussion is a fall, but they occur mostly from sports-related contact collision. An athlete can suffer concussion as a result of a blow to the head without losing consciousness. 54 per cent of sports and recreational activity-related concussions occur in children under the age of 14.

Football, soccer and ice hockey contribute to the largest share of causes of sport-related concussions. These types of concussions have increased dramatically over a 10-year period.

How is a Concussion Treated?

Depending on the severity of the injury, a physician may recommend a hospital stay for the individual so medical staff can observe the patient. The best treatment while at home is to get plenty of rest and to avoid physical and mental exertion. Swelling caused from head injuries can be reduced by placing a cold compress on the swollen area. A physician may prescribe medication if the individual is experiencing any pain.

After having a concussion, someone should stay with the individual in case there are any issues that develop after the injury. If the patient begins having seizures, slurs their speech, becomes extremely tired or loses consciousness, emergency treatment is needed as soon as possible.

Concussions Prevention

The saying suggests prevention is better than cure, and since a cure for concussions is hard to come by, it is important that athletes take steps to prevent them. The only cure for concussions that works is prevention. Athletes should wear appropriate athletic gear when engaging in activity. Always wear a helmet during contact sports practice and ensure the chinstrap is closed and properly secured.

Always use seatbelts in automobiles and “fall proof” your home and surroundings. Living spaces should be uncluttered, with furniture secure and in good repair. To prevent children from getting a concussion at home, install safety gates and window guards.

Employing regulatory controls greatly contributes to prevention. For example, educating participants in sports, designing specialized protective products, and having surveillance programs. The programs emphasize prevention by focusing on decisions relevant to the rules and regulations of sports.

In sports, coaches should also review techniques for teaching the right skills that promote player safety during play and provide solid protection from injury. Coaches need to rigorously prepare athletes for the rigors of competition.

Last Reviewed:
September 19, 2016
Last Updated:
December 08, 2017