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Concussions – More Common Than You Think

Concussions – More Common Than You Think

by – Shawn O’Brien, M.S.

Do you watch sporting events, particularly contact sports, such as football or hockey?  You may have noticed more content during these broadcasts in regards to concussion research and its prevention.

The topic of this article isn’t meant to bore you about scientific data, it is meant to reinforce the premise – Concussions are more common than one would think.  I work with a young female athlete  and this past summer her family and I noticed something different about her.  Even though she had a few joint injuries from sports participation, her balance and overall strength was significantly lower than the previous summer.  After her family and I conferred, it was deemed appropriate to bring this issue to a medical professional (neurologist).  She is now on her way back to recovery and should be back to competitive sports soon.

This situation brought me back to my days at Southern Connecticut State University as an exercise science graduate student taking “Sports Medicine.”   This class covered such topics as steroid use, over-training, cervical spine injuries, hormone treatment, exercise environment, periodization of muscle development, CONCUSSIONS and other similar topics, all of which I use today to create exercise programs for individuals.

By Definition: The causes of a concussion are the immediate transient alterations of neurological function caused by mechanical acceleration and deceleration forces (Manual of Sports Medicine, 1998).  To translate in layperson terms: your brain has been bruised.

Concussions also cause secondary issues: additional susceptibility to future concussions, association with high morbidity (disease) and even mortality (death) and 10-15% who have a concussion have a cervical spinal injuries.

There are different classifications of concussions, which are, Bell Ringers, Stage One, Two and Three, all of these classifications depend the time of amnesia, loss or no loss of consciousness and lack of coordination. Regardless of the severity or classification a very conservative approach should be taken to preserve the mental status of the patient in the guidelines of care and treatment.

The bottom line your brain can be injured as well and all precautions should be taken to evaluate all athletes at any level.  Seek the appropriate care from a medical professional after any injury.