Concussion - A Traumatic Brain Injury

By Christy Lenahan - Macaroni Kid Content Contributor October 18, 2018

Football season is in full swing and my Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday nights are

pretty much consumed by high school football practices and games. As much as I enjoy watching the

games, watching the hard hits gets to me every time. That being said, hard hits and resulting

concussions happen across all sports, even cheerleading. Concussions just happen to be more prevalent

among football players. Stats for concussions are alarming: 1 in every 5 high school athletes will suffer

from a concussion during the season, 33% of all concussions happen at practice, 47% of all sport related

concussions happen during high school football, and 5.3 Americans (adults and children) live with a

traumatic brain injury-related disability.

So what is a concussion? Concussion is a traumatic brain injury that occurs when impact to a

head jars the brain inside the skull. Signs of a concussion may not always be obvious, they can range

from mild to severe and last from days to weeks. These signs can be placed into 4 categories: physical,

mental, sleep, and emotional. Physical signs may include headache, vision disturbances, nausea or

vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to noise or light, difficulty with balance, and fatigue. Mental signs may

include difficulty thinking clearly and/or concentrating, slower thought processing, and difficulty

remembering new information. Sleep signs may include excessive or decreased sleep and difficulty

falling asleep. Emotional signs may include irritability, depression, overreaction, or anxiety.

If you think someone is suffering from a concussion, make him (or her) stop any physical activity

immediately. Consult a medical professional for advice – if signs are severe, such as seizure, passing out,

repeated vomiting – call 911. A person suffering from a concussion may be hospitalized for overnight

observation or they may be sent home and observed by friends and family. Athletes should not return

to their sport until all signs and symptoms have resolved. Make sure the coach and athletic trainer are

aware of the athlete’s concussion. Preventing concussions before they occur should be priority.

Athletes should be aware of what a concussion is and what problems it can cause. They should wear

properly fitting helmets and protective equipment at all times and follow all safety rules.