Sign and Symptoms of a Concussion
Posted: Apr 01, 2021
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is common in sport that can have serious consequences over the long term for an athlete. Politically the issue of concussion has become quite a problem for the organizations that run most contact sports globally and they are facing substantial legal issues over this. For this reason, increased attention is being given to the immediate and long term care of athlete when they get a head injury.
Head injuries are not unique to contact sports, and anyone can become injured, for example, during a fall, a car accident, or any other daily activity. Concussions are usually not life-threatening unless they happened multiple times, but they can cause serious symptoms that do require immediate management. Athletes should be immediately removed from the field after a knock to the head for a head injury assessment before being allowed to continue. If a concussion is assessed, then most sporting codes have in place protocols that must be followed over the next several weeks before the athlete is allowed to return to play.
The actual symptoms of a concussion will vary depending on both the severity of the injury and the individual characteristics of the person that is injured. You do not always lose consciousness with a concussion. Some athletes do experience a loss of consciousness, but others don’t. The diagnosis and early recognition of a concussion is important if there is going to be a proper recovery plan put in place. The key signs of a concussion may include problems with memory; confusion; a drowsiness or a sluggish feeling; dizziness; double vision or a blurred vision; headache; nausea or vomiting; a sensitivity to light or noise; problems with balance; and a slowed reaction to stimuli. These symptoms may begin immediately following the head injury or they may not develop for hours or days following the initial injury. Even following the initial recovery from the head injury, it is common to experiences symptoms during that time such as continued irritability; a sensitivity to light or noise; a lot of difficulty concentrating; and mild ongoing headaches.
In some cases, there may be a concussion, and they don’t know it. Some of the signs to watch out for in people you know following a head injury are irritability, problems with balance and stumbling; a loss of coordination; problems walking; seizures; a draining of blood or a clear fluid from the ears or nose; unequal pupil size between the left and right sides; abnormal movements of the eyes; ongoing confusion; slurred speech; vomiting. Anyone who you see who is experiencing these symptoms need immediate emergency medical help as things can deteriorate quite quickly.
There are many long term complications associated with a concussion that the risk for can be lessened if there is immediate and appropriate management of the initial head injury. Almost every sporting organisations has in place a concussion protocol that includes a head injury assessment at the time of injury and the removal of the player from the game and when they can return to play.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.