Get Your Head Out of the Game: The Dangers of Concussions - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

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Published on May 21, 2013

Get Your Head Out of the Game: The Dangers of Concussions

If you’re a football fan, you know the NFL is obsessed with reducing the near epidemic of concussions that exists in the game. You’ve probably heard about players with brain damage who commit suicide because life has become unbearable. If you’re a Flyers fan, you know that the freak concussion that appears to have ended Chris Pronger’s career has dramatically changed his life.

These are scary stories, but they mostly only happen to pro athletes who slam into giant-sized people for a living, right?

Wrong.

A concussion, which is a traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain is shaken or “jarred” inside the skull, can occur as a result of a variety of activities, from sports to car accidents to a simple fall. Since it can happen anywhere and from anything, it can also impact anyone. In addition to injuries sustained on playgrounds and athletic fields, other common causes of brain trauma are fights, car crashes and bike accidents.

Identifying symptoms of a concussion can be tricky, but it’s important for that person to stop engaging in the activity and see a doctor right away. There are also some clues that suggest someone has experienced brain trauma, such as memory problems, nausea, and vomiting.

While the severity of the concussion will determine what treatment options are available, rest is the only way to allow a concussion to ride its course, aside from surgery. In serious cases, a concussion can cause brain swelling and permanent brain damage that leads to both physical and mental problems, such as difficulty moving, learning, and speaking. The chances of this happening not only depend upon the severity of the brain trauma, but also on the number of times someone experiences a concussion.

So what’s the best way to prevent these detrimental effects once you’ve suffered a concussion?

Take a long break from physical and strenuous mental activity. This includes not only sports, but also household chores, work and even using a computer. Really – you need to just sit and do nothing.

Most people fully recover after experiencing a concussion; some need only a few hours or days.  

By simply following popular safety practices, you can reduce the chances of you or your children getting a concussion. Some tips include wearing a seatbelt in the car, putting on safety equipment when participating in sports, and installing children’s car seats properly. It’s also important to educate kids on basic safety, such as when they’re at a playground or riding a bike.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with the specialists of the Sports Concussion Center at Healthplex Sports Medicine, visit sportsmed.crozerkeystone.org or call (610) 328-8830. For the Crozer Post-Concussion Clinic, call (610) 447-2430. 

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