Sports & Concussions – What Are The Dangers?

Concussions are one of the top concerns of athletes, and justifiably so.

Medical professionals have classified concussions as “mild traumatic brain injuries,” which are caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head.

Although they’re not commonly life-threatening, the effects they have on the individual are serious.

The unanticipated movement can cause the brain to bounce or twist around in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain, killing brain cells, and damaging vital nerves.

One of the leading causes behind concussions are sports that involve any extensive physical contact with a projectile object or other players.

Sports With the Highest Likelihood of Concussions

Concussions are a common consequence of collisions, falls, and other types of contact in sports.

Athletes can get a concussion from any type of sport, but the sports with the highest incidence rate of concussions are football, rugby, soccer, and basketball.

Among females, the largest number of sports accidents associated with mTBIs are cycling, horseback riding, and soccer. On the other hand, males have the highest likelihood of getting mTBIs playing football, basketball, and bicycling. Despite these specific sports having a higher occurrence of concussions, a concussion can happen in just about any sport, so whenever engaging in any sporting activities, be careful, mindful, and safe.

Athletes who have received a concussion previously have a higher chance of receiving another, this time with more severe symptoms.

What to Do When You Think You Have a Concussion

After receiving a blow to the head, you’re presented with two options: seek medical attention immediately, or wait and see what happens.

It’s important to know that concussion symptoms don’t necessarily appear immediately and can take hours or days to come into full effect.

Waiting for any period of time before seeking medical attention can be incredibly dangerous, as your brain can suffer from nerve damage or begin to bleed inside your skull.

If you are experiencing any of the following concussion symptoms, find medical attention as soon as possible:neurologist pointing to mri scan of brain

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory problems
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Fatigue, drowsiness, or confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Although brain injuries are quite common, their diagnosis can be pretty complicated, as there are no medical evaluations or tools that can directly determine if someone has sustained a concussion.

Treatment Options to Get Back to Sports Safely

Each concussion is treated differently since each person experiences symptoms in various levels of severity.

Many athletes become eager to resume playing the sport soon after their concussion, but returning too soon can cause more damage to your brain than there was initially.

a patient in the middle of vestibular rehabilitationAthletes should only return to their sport once all their symptoms are completely gone and the doctor has given them permission to resume any type of exercise.

Since most concussions are not very serious, doctors will recommend rest and medication to relieve any pain caused by concussion symptoms. In the first couple of days, athletes are to stay away from anything that is both physically and mentally exhausting.

After that, athletes can slowly start to get back to exercising. They can begin with simple tasks such as walking or jogging, and then build up to more intense training.

For more severe cases, several types of therapies are available. Some of the most common therapies used to treat concussion symptoms such as dizziness, sensitivity to sound and light, and balance issues are vestibular rehabilitation, vision therapy, and auditory therapy.

Vestibular rehabilitation is a form of physical therapy that addresses balance issues and motion disorders brought on by brain injuries.  This exercise-based treatment is designed to reduce dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance.

Vision therapy is used to improve movement problems, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. This treatment is effective for patients of all ages and can help fight concussion symptoms without the use of surgery or medication.

Balance problems can also be solved with the help of auditory therapy. This treatment uses sound to heal the vestibular system, which is responsible for motor control and balance.

Concussion Treatment at Our Centre for Brain Health in Ottawa

Have you recently received a blow to the head and have been feeling dizzy or tired?

It’s important to consult a concussion specialist as soon as possible before a minor injury turns into a more dangerous one.

At Broadview Spine and Health Centre, we know how to treat concussions. Our specialists will create a detailed diagnosis using a series of concussion testing to determine the best treatment for you.

Reach out to us to learn more about concussion treatments and book your appointment today

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