What is a concussion?
A concussion is the acceleration and deceleration of the brain within the skull as a result of a biomechanical force to the head or body. This may or MAY NOT involve a loss of consciousness. Once upon a time it was believed that an individual must have a loss of consciousness in order to have suffered from a concussion but this is no longer the case. In fact 90% of individuals who experience a concussion do not lose consciousness.
Important facts and statistics:
Concussions are an ever growing topic in the sporting world. Over 3.8 million concussions happen every year meaning that 10% of athletes involved in contact sports sustain a concussion. That being said those numbers only take into account the concussions that are reported. In 2014, a review was performed and it's results suggested that nearly half of the concussions sustained were never reported. The top ten sports that reported the highest concussion rates include:
Girls Ice Hockey
Boys Ice Hockey
Girls and boys Rugby
Females. believe it or not are more likely to sustain a concussion than males.
Although the sporting world has come a long way in regards to safety and equipment, the rates of concussions have not necessarily followed suit. The truth is that helmets, mouth guards and protective body gear does not protect against concussions and the only true protective mechanism is the removal of physical contact. It is safe to say that the removal of physical contact from sports is not going to happen over night, and therefore education about concussions and the proper management of concussions is our best option in terms of keeping individuals safe.
What to Look For:
As mentioned above, a concussion occurs when the body or head is impacted by a force that is strong enough to shake the brain within the skull. There are generally only functional disturbances that can be seen and assessed and no structural injuries or changes. That means that when imaging is done there is usually no abnormality seen but rather what we need to look for are cognitive, emotional, physical, behavioural and somatic symptoms. Some symptoms include:
Slowed reaction time
Fatigue or low energy
Pressure in head
And the list goes on. When a concussion is suspected it is vital that the athlete or individual is removed from the sport or event taking place, as another hit to the head can cause long term and detrimental effects. The individual should then be assessed by a health care professional that is educated in concussion management and proper treatment, within 24 hours. Complete Concussion Management practitioners or CCMI practitioners are educated in the most recent and up-to-date research about concussions and concussion management. CCMI is a nationwide organization and their practitioners can be found easily online. If you or someone you know has sustained a concussion make sure to call into the clinic today to book an assessment or treatment. Stay tuned over the next few weeks to learn more about concussion management with our next blog post!