Concussions are a hot topic in sports and rightfully so. Also known as traumatic brain injures(TBI) , concussions are caused by a blow or jolt to the head and neck that disrupts the normal brain function. Not all blows to the head result in a TBI. Each concussion exhibits varying symptoms depending on the severity of the blow and the location it occurred on the head.
Also, it depends on if there was any protective helmet or device in place and how many previous concussions have been experienced. A concussion doesn’t always mean a loss of consciousness. Symptoms can include dizziness, memory loss, vomiting, headaches, confusion, personality change, restlessness or irritability.
All suspected cases need evaluation and some states now enact laws to prevent return to activity until cleared by a professional. Some memory/ dexterity/ reaction time simulation tests, such as the IMPACT are given before a season and if an TBI occurs, there is a baseline to compare. A player may not be cleared until the score returns to within the baseline. Prevention of photic stimuli, such as video games and TV have been shown to help in the recovery process.
In one Canadian study(J of Emergency Med, 2011, March; 40:262) some concussion symptoms were persistent for over a month. With headache, dizziness, fatigue and cognitive impairment noted. Athletes should avoid both exertion and contact until symptoms have resolved.