Not Recognizing a Concussion can be Costly
3 Reasons Recognizing a Concussion is Important
A Concussion is a Head Injury, Head Injuries are Bad
According to the CDC, a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, even if it is “mild” it still can be dangerous. Besides that, having one makes us more susceptible to the next one, and preliminary evidence shows that repeated mild TBIs (even those without symptoms), can lead to permanent brain damage.
Concussion Symptoms Require a Physician Follow-Up
Symptoms can last from a few days to a few weeks. Some symptoms can even last longer depending on the type of injury. Recognition is tricky because some people may report that they are “Not Feeling Right.” Be aware that other medical conditions can mimic concussion symptoms. That’s why, when symptoms are recognized, medical evaluation is important for proper diagnosis and treatment.
It’s the Law
Every state has some form of Concussion Legislation. There are actions that coaches and school health officials are required to take.
This month in Iowa, a Des Moines jury awarded a former high school football player almost $1 million because of the school’s response to his head injury. His concussion symptoms were actually symptoms of a more serious brain injury. While he was pulled from play, the school failed to follow their state’s protocol for post-concussion follow up with his family or a physician. He had a blood clot and required brain surgery.
What to Look For – Recognizing a Concussion
Here are the signs and symptoms of a concussion from the Mayo Clinic’s website:
• Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
• Temporary loss of consciousness
• Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
• Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
• Dizziness or “seeing stars”
• Ringing in the ears
• Slurred speech
• Delayed response to questions
• Appearing dazed
The onset of these concussion symptoms can be delayed by hours or even days:
• Concentration and memory complaints
• Irritability and other personality changes
• Sensitivity to light and noise
• Sleep disturbances
• Psychological adjustment problems and depression
• Disorders of taste and smell
With young children, recognizing a concussion may be more difficult as they might not be able to communicate what’s wrong. Here are some signs of head injury in infants and toddlers:
• Appearing dazed
• Listlessness and tiring easily
• Irritability and crankiness
• Loss of balance and unsteady walking
• Crying excessively
• Change in eating or sleeping patterns
• Lack of interest in favorite toys
You can also view other symptoms and information on the CDC’s Website.
Take time to review your concussion treatment protocol regularly. If you don’t have one, make one. Consult with your state authority for guidance on the requirements, and check out the TBI resources for coaches and parents from the CDC.