What is a Concussion?

By: Edward Jaffee Abes

Recently there has been much publicity concerning concussions suffered by athletes. But what is a concussion?

A concussion in reality is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The most common and least serious type of traumatic brain injury is a concussion. These are obviously caused by sports injuries or general recreation activities. They of course could also be caused by falls, auto accidents and even fighting. One sustains a concussion upon suffering an impact that jolts the brain. Essentially, because the brain sits in a protective spinal fluid within the skull, a trauma causes the brain to move around and bump up against the skull. Damage to blood vessels or injury to nerves can occur. This causes the brain to not function normally.

Common symptoms of a concussion are multiple. They may include some but not all of the following: balance problems, confusion, concentration issues, dizziness, headache, irritability, depression, nausea, vomiting, anxiety and sensitivity to light or noise. One should not judge for themselves the seriousness of the concussion but rather should seek medical attention to be evaluated. Even once recovered if the concussion was sustained in a regular activity such as a sport, a repeat concussion can have cumulative effects on the brain with severe consequences. Therefore, a doctor’s clearance is the best course of action before returning to normal activity.

Concussions cannot be entirely avoided but precautions can lessen the chance of sustaining a head injury. Wearing a helmet while participating in sport activities including bike riding will greatly reduce the incidents or severity of a traumatic brain injury. Play hard but play smart and protect yourself. By doing so, you will not affect your life or the lives of your family.



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