- 1 in 4 Americans claim they have had a concussion at one point in time
- The most common victims of concussions are young, active individuals
- The progression of recovery from a concussion depends on the severity of the injury itself
Today in our society we see more attention drawn to concussions and the aftermath of the injury. Most recently Hollywood put out a new movie, Concussion, starring Will Smith. The movie follows the story of a doctor who is researching the effects of repeated concussions in football players. Now, not all of us are out on the field wearing shoulder pads and helmets.
The reality of the situation is that concussions are not only common in contact sports. According to a NPR poll conducted, almost 1 in 4 Americans claim they have had a concussion at one point in time. Luckily over 75% of these Americans sought medical attention.
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Smaller hits to the head can be categorized as sub-concussive hits. These smaller hits build up over time; what starts out as a small bump every now and then, overtime, may result in a full-blown concussion. According to Dr. Harry Kerasidis, it all depends on the health of your brain.
To clarify, every time you hit your head does not mean you will be diagnosed as concussed. After hitting your head in small doses overtime, one more minuscule hit to the head may result in a concussion due to the fact that you had hit your head in smaller doses overtime.
Concussions have the tendency to be sneaky and have various symptoms. What you may think is just a relentless headache, may actually be a concussion. Other symptoms include a loss of consciousness, nausea and/or vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, cloudy thinking and problems with memory. Unfortunately, it is common for these symptoms to go unnoticed for minutes, hours, and sometimes even days. These delayed symptoms push back the aid that medical attention can provide.
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Before diving into treatment of concussions, it is important to point out what happens to the brain when a concussion occurs. The brain floats in cerebral spinal fluid inside the skull. The fluid acts as a buffer between the organ and the skull itself.
A concussion is when the brain rapidly moves within the skull and the cerebral spinal fluid cannot protect the brain from hitting the inner skull. When a blow to the head occurs, the brain accelerates and quickly hits one side of the skull. In the deceleration process, the brain hits the opposite side of the skull before settling back into place.
Another potential reaction of the brain to a traumatic blow is known as a rotational concussion. During this, the brain moves from one side to the other in a rapid movement. More often than not this results in shearing and straining of brain tissues. Either situation can cause long term neurological issues.
Treatment of concussions typically follows one major guideline; the injured person needs to rest. Simply laying down on the couch will not suffice. It is advised that the concussed person physically and mentally rest to allow the brain to fully rest. Avoiding stimulating situations such as classrooms, reading, and watching television is advised. Physical activity is frowned upon. Easing back into everyday activities is advised. Going back to life all at once can cause overstimulation, and symptoms may reappear.
The progression of recovery from a concussion depends on the severity of the injury itself. When not properly treated long term effect may ensue in the individual, if all seems fine, the next head injury they sustain may be that much worse. It is best to seek and obtain medical attention regardless of the severity of the concussion.
The most common victims of concussions are young, active individuals. Most of these young folks are concussed due to participation in a contact sport. As previously stated, Hollywood produced the film Concussion, stemming from football players.
Today, concussions are gaining notoriety because many professional athletes are speaking out on the matter. Is the attention surrounding concussions too much? In the same poll conducted by NPR, 11 percent of people said the attention concussions receive is exaggerated, 80 percent thought it was appropriate, and the remaining 7 percent simply did know.
-by Abigail Andrea. Abigail is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter @abby_kono