A: As fall season athletics begin, a commonly diagnosed injury among athletes is a concussion. However, concussions are found not only in athletes, but the general population alike and knowing the signs, symptoms and causes of a concussion are extremely important to safely participating in all activities.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a bump or hit to the head, or from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly, back and forth, resulting in damage to brain tissue, similar to a bruise. Due to the sensitive nature of the brain, all concussions should be considered serious and under the care of a medical professional proficient in concussion management.
Most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness and typically result in a variety of short-lived symptoms that resolve spontaneously. Signs and symptoms may be noticeable immediately, or may take days to weeks before appearing. Common signs and symptoms of a concussion include headache, nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, decreased coordination, memory disturbances, inability to concentrate, poor sleeping and eating habits and mood changes (this list is not all-inclusive). Those diagnosed with a concussion may have all, many or none of the above listed signs and symptoms. Treatment of a concussion requires rest of both the body and brain and need uninterrupted sleep to ensure proper brain healing. Any activity that stresses the brain should be extremely limited.
Information provided by Meghan Mueller, PT, DPT, Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers, 1451 Gateway Circle, Suite 500, 986-5190.