A concussion is the most common type of brain trauma. It occurs when the brain receives trauma from an impact or sudden change of momentum or movement. This can be the result of impact during athletic competition, violent shaking or force, or even a fall that jars or shakes the brain inside the head.
A severe concussion or repeated concussions may lead to long-lasting problems with movement, learning, or balance. It is important not to hide your symptoms and to be seen by a doctor if you have suffered a blow to the head.
3 Signs of Concussion During Sports
Spotting a concussion can be challenging, because athletes may lose insight that they have suffered an injury. Dr. Anthony Alessi provides three easy signs for parents, coaches, and others to look for.
You don't have to lose consciousness to have a concussion. Common, well-known symptoms include looking dazed, feeling unsteady on your feet, and forgetting what happened right before the injury. Some people will not display any outward signs of the injury. This is why it is important to see a doctor immediately after any brain trauma or significant impact or fall.
Your doctor will collect a complete medical history and perform a physical examination. When a concussion is suspected, tests of brain function that look at memory, coordination, and balance will also be performed.
Concussions leave no visible sign of injury to the brain that can be observed on CT scans or MRI.
Most people with a concussion fully recover within two weeks. Initially, cognitive and physical rest and observation are required. If symptoms persist, additional neurocognitive rehabilitation programs are considered.
If your symptoms persist for more than 4-6 weeks, additional specialists such as neuropsychologists and physical therapists might be brought in to address your particular symptoms. We often utilize specialized treadmill testing to determine safe levels of exercise while you recover.
You may return to your sport(s) when symptoms go away and you have successfully completed a return-to-play exercise routine.