What is a concussion?
A concussion is a common head injury, also known as a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI). It is an injury that results from a direct or indirect blow to the head, face or jaw causing an alteration of brain function which can become evident through a variety of related symptoms. The damage to the brain during a concussion is caused by a sudden shifting of the brain inside the skull. This shifting can cause the brain to knock against the hard bone of the skull, causing bruising to your brain and damaging brain cells. A blow to the head can also cause a rotational injury to the brain which can cause shearing of the brain nervous fibres which can alter brain function.
What to look for:
Concussions are hard to recognize as there is no visible injury to the structure of the brain. Recognition comes from various post-concussion symptoms that may affect an individual’s cognitive & physical abilities, emotions & moods, as well as sleeping patterns. The following is a list of possible concussion related symptoms someone may experience if they have suffered a concussion;
- Individual is dazed or stunned
- Experience a headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Memory loss
- Double or blurry vision
- Light or noise sensitivity
- Loss of consciousness (even briefly)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Change in amount of time spent sleeping
- Irritable/more emotional than normal
What to do:
If you believe you may have suffered a concussion you need to tell someone! While you may think you are ok, someone else will be able to give you an unbiased opinion of your state of mind. Online tests for concussions can serve as a starting point to determining the proper course of action, but to gain accurate information/diagnosis you must visit a doctor or an individual trained in assessment and management of concussions. The doctor will be able to tell you the severity of your injury, as well as proper steps to follow in order to allow your brain time to heal. In general, a concussion requires a lot of rest to decrease the workload on your brain. Activities such as driving, watching movies, playing video games, and any physical activity all increase brain activity and blood flow which can affect the speed of recovery.
“It is an invisible injury and there is no pill, no band aid and no equipment that will help, only through education can we reduce the incidence of concussions.”