Concussion Tips for Athletes
- 4 to 5 million concussions occur annually in the United States
- 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain a sports-related concussion each year
- 47% of all reported sports concussion occur during high school football
- 5.3 million Americans live with a traumatic brain injury
Concussions are incredibly prevalent in sports, particularly high school athletics, and can have serious consequences. So with football season starting up, what do you need to know to enjoy the game and prevent serious head injuries?
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and occurs when the brain is shaken inside the skull as a result of a fall or hit. The brain is cushioned inside your skull by a fluid called cerebrospinal fluid. This works to protect your brain on a daily basis, but in the event of a sudden blow to the skull or upper body, you brain can slide back and forth inside your skull, causing a concussion.
Concussions can result from many things, like falls, car accidents, or physical assault. Many concussions, however, result from sports. Football players are the most likely to sustain a concussion, followed by hockey, soccer, and lacrosse players, due to the physical contact with equipment or other players.
The physical symptoms of a concussion can include:
- Problems with balance
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to noise and light
- Unequal pupils
There are also mental and emotional symptoms of a concussion, such as trouble sleeping, mood changes, and difficulty thinking, remembering, or concentrating.
It is commonly thought that a concussion always results in a lack of consciousness, but in fact, 90% of reported concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness. If someone is conscious, but still exhibiting other symptoms of a concussion, it is important to get them immediate care.
How can concussions be prevented?
While many concussions occur during sports, this does not mean that sports always have to cause concussions. Head injuries are prevented by wearing the proper sports equipment. In sports like football and hockey, helmets are incredibly important. They protect the skull and lessen the impact of any contact. Understanding and following the rules of the sport or activity will also cut down on the number of the concussions. Particularly in contact sports, not following the rules, like tackling someone improperly, can lead to head injuries. By following the rules, you can prevent injury for yourself and others.
What do I do if I have a concussion?
If you sustain a head injury while playing a sport, it is incredibly important that you stop playing immediately. Continuing to play, or playing too quickly after a concussion, greatly increases the risk of another concussion. This can result in further brain damage. If you suspect you have a concussion, you should seek immediate medical attention. A doctor may perform a neurological exam to check coordination and memory. A CT scan may be necessary to look at the damage to the brain and skull.
While recovering, it is very important to rest and avoid activity, especially the activity that caused the concussion. When you can return to your sport or activity, make sure that your coach and teammates are aware of your concussion.
Concussions and other types of TBI can be very serious, but they do not mean you have to stop enjoying sports or other activities. By being aware of the symptoms and taking proper precautions, you can have fun all football season long, without the pain of a concussion!
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.