Concussions Happen Anytime, Anywhere
June 19, 2018 06:16 PM
Although school sports are coming to an end, your risk of incurring a concussion doesn’t diminish. Whether you are playing in a summer league, heading to summer camp, or even playing pick-up with friends, concussions happen, and it is important to be aware of the risks and how to spot the signs.
What exactly is a concussion?
For those who might not know, a concussion is a microscopic injury to the brain, which makes it difficult to spot, and easy for people to pass off as unimportant. Please don’t ignore a potential concussion. While they are not life-threatening, their effects can be serious and it’s important that you see a doctor and take the necessary steps needed to recover. A concussion left on its own can create a lasting effect on your brain and drastically slow down recovery.
What causes concussions?
Concussions typically occur after any sort of blunt-force trauma to the head, such as a ball colliding with your head or even slamming your head on the ground after a fall. When your head takes a hit, your brain slams against the inside of your skull, rebounds, and slams against the other side, sometimes repeatedly. Adolescents are at a higher risk because their brains are still developing, which makes it a very common sports injury, but that does not mean adults have zero risk, or that concussions can’t occur outside of sports. Everyone needs to be cautious and check themselves for any symptoms after receiving a blow to the head.
How do I know if I have one?
One of the most common, and easiest to spot, symptoms is headaches, and depending on the severity of the concussion, these can last anywhere from a few days, to weeks, or even months. Your headaches should get better over time, but if they get worse, it’s vital that you return to your doctor as this may be a sign of bleeding in the skull. Other common symptoms to expect with a concussion include dizziness, double or blurry vision, exaggerated mood changes, mental fogginess, vomiting, sleep disturbances, or sensitivity to light and noise.
Time for Recovery
After any major trauma to the head, stop any physical activity and check for concussion symptoms, some may be immediate and others may not develop until the next day depending on the severity. If you show any signs of a concussion, schedule an appointment with a doctor, ideally within 24 hours of the injury, so they can assess your situation and develop a treatment course best suited for you. The initial appointment will consist of a series of questions about your concussion history, noticeable changes in daily tasks, any mood swings, difficulty concentrating, strength of headaches, and any other symptoms you may be experiencing. Your doctor will assess the seriousness of your concussion and determine if you need to discontinue any physical activity until recovery.
A common course of treatment for mild concussions is to stop physical activity, avoid exposure to excessive light, refrain from technology use, and take ibuprofen to reduce the swelling and aide with headaches. In most cases, you should be able to return to normal activity within two weeks of following concussion protocol. If you don’t show signs of significant improvement, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to ensure optimal recovery.
There are precautions everyone should take to minimize your chances of getting a concussion this summer. If you find yourself playing soccer, avoid heading the ball as much as possible. Make sure to wear a helmet when biking or when playing football, lacrosse, or baseball. Make sure to encourage safe play and follow the rules for any sport – they were put in place to protect you! Additionally, be aware of your surroundings and try to dodge any objects, or person, that may be coming towards you.
How OA can help you
However cautious you are, the doctors at OA Centers for Orthopaedics know that concussions cannot always be avoided, and if you find yourself with concussion symptoms, call OA at (207) 828-2100 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.
OA will provide you with a comprehensive care program that comes from the expertise of Sports Medicine specialists, Certified Athletic Trainers, Physical Therapists and other clinical staff to diagnose and treat anyone with a concussion. OA will create a custom designed treatment program that is scientifically based to help you return to normal activities as quickly and safely as possible.