Concussions: A common sports injury under the microscope

Posted on 03 September 2015 by admin

Maintaining attention to developing head injuries is important to determining the severity of it

concussionsBy: Alex White
Photo Editor

According to Prevacus, there was an estimation of 1.6 to 3.8 million sports – related concussions in the United States last year. STLCC Nursing Professor Faith Caster said concussion awareness has grown over recent years.

“There has been a growing concern with the number of concussions that seem to be growing over the past couple of years. What does not seem to be growing, though, is the general knowledge of concussions,” Caster said.

Caster said a concussion is a mechanical injury that can, sometimes, result in a mild form of pain.

“Concussions are known to be some sort of head trauma obtained from a simple hit on the head. One that is very mild may not even develop into anything, yet there are those rare occasions where symptoms do not begin to show [until] a few days later,” Caster said.

Common concussion symptoms include vomiting, dizziness and passing out, Caster said, and the first 24 hours after getting a hard hit to the head are the most crucial to properly diagnose a concussion.

“Somebody who does not make sense when they are talking or their movements are jerky – and they cannot move properly – shows symptoms of having a concussion. [For vomiting] it really is two or more times of vomiting. So, if somebody vomits one time after getting bonked on the head, that does not guarantee it,” Caster said.

Caster said there could be devestating long-term effects to having a concussion.

“If it is just one concussion, there may not be any long-term effects. The things we are hearing a lot about – especially in the professional football world – is those repeat concussions. [Repeat concussions] can eventually lead to brain damage or an earlier onset of Alzheimers or dementia,” Caster said. Concussions are treatable.

“Continuing to watch the person, usually, we will see those symptoms withing that [first] 24 hour window. If it was from a contact sport, they will probably be told that they do not get to play for a while. Keeping an athlete [safe] will help prevent future concussions and help the current concussion heal faster with the hopes to eventually be on the field again,” Caster said.

Maintaining attention to developing head injuries is important to determining the severity of it, Caster said.

“Paying attention to how a head injury develops over a period of time is important to diagnosing the injury properly. Concussions may happen from a contact sport, a car accident or even a fall that his the head too hard. Prevention of a head injury is not the easiest, but when we learn more about their causes and effects, it can be done,” Caster said.

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