What we should know about concussion8th September 2020
Clinic Director & Lead Sports Therapist
If you’ve suffered a concussion playing contact sport in or around Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, or if you’re responsible for somebody who does, then read on…
Concussion is a traumatic brain injury resulting in a disturbance of brain function . It happens most frequently in contact sports such as rugby, boxing, and ice-hockey, but can happen also in everyday life where we might receive a knock to the head.
If concussion is identified and managed quickly and correctly, it dramatically reduces the risk of more serious consequences developing.
There are many symptoms of concussion – the most common being headache, dizziness, memory disturbance or balance problems.
The most important thing to stress is that loss of consciousness, i.e. being ‘knocked out’, is not a requirement for diagnosing concussion. In fact, loss of consciousness occurs in less than 10% of concussions so we must never assume that somebody does not have a concussion if they did not black out.
Who is at risk?
Concussions can and do happen at any age. However, children and adolescent athletes are:
- more susceptible to concussion
- take longer to recover
- have more significant memory and mental processing issues
- are more susceptible to rare and dangerous neurological complications, including death caused by a single or second impact.
Athletes of any age who participate in contact sports and experience one or more concussions, may be at risk of developing long-term alterations in brain function and subsequent premature degeneration or aging of the nerves in the brain.
Between 40–50% of athletes who experience a moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), be it in rugby, boxing or a clash of heads in football for example are likely to experience neurological issues and potentially longer-term complications.
So the key take-home message is that fellow players, coaches, match officials, team managers, administrators and parents who observe a player displaying any of the signs of concussion, or witness a knock to the head where symptoms aren’t immediately obvious, MUST do their best to ensure that the player is removed from the field of play in a safe manner and is transferred into the hands of someone who is qualified to assess and manage the situation.
Understanding and management of concussion
We have a range of free downloadable concussion resources to help you understand the deeper statistics and what to do if you spot a concussion. They are written by senior physiotherapists and consultants, and feature evidence-based information and best practice protocols. But they are a light read with digestible bite-sized information for you and anyone in need of them.
The following Concussion Resources are available to you:
- What is concussion?
- Can concussion be prevented?
- Concussion in young people
- How to manage concussion
- Immediate concussion management
Of course, if you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to get in contact with us. We’re here to help!