Sports Concussions

What is a Concussion?
“A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a blow or jolt to the head, face or neck. A concussion causes disruption of normal brain functioning. Contrary to popular belief, an individual does not have to lose consciousness to sustain a concussion. Fewer than 10% of concussions actually result in loss of consciousness.

Concussions can occur in sports, or as a result of a motor vehicle crash, an assault, or fall…” BC BIA/GF Strong

Concussions are Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI), the degree of the concussion determines if the injury is elevated to a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Sports Concussions

Concussions from either sports or accidents come in varying degrees of severity. With sports concussions, it may be many little hits or one big hit. A sports concussion may result from a jar, a hit to the head or a fall where the effects may not be felt immediately- a kink in the neck, headache or dizziness as the adrenaline mitigates the effects. The accident concussion may come from an obvious blow to the head resulting in blood flow profusely internally or externally with a swelling on the head. Accident concussions more easily identified, in general, than sports concussions.

One of the difficulties in identifying a sports concussion has to do with athletic traits. Many athletes are “type A” personalities, high achievers with a concept of “no pain, no gain.” Their levels of pain tolerance are high with the adrenaline running through the body. There is a high expectation in society today for athletes to overachieve, thereby ignoring the severity of a concussion. Their belief to be the best in all endeavors is great. We push ourselves to succeed-we push our children with our own missing childhood dreams. However, we cannot push the healing of a brain with a concussion.

As a result of a concussion, our brain starts to misfire, it may be as subtle as:
• a drop in school grades / blurry vision
• lack of concentration/loss of balance
• being scattered or forgetful
• an outburst of inappropriate behaviors
• confusion with words and speech
• sleep disorders/ headaches

Think of the brain as strings of Christmas lights plugged into each other and every time they are given a little hit, first a bulb, then a string malfunctions until there is no connection. Yet even partially lit the lights look fine; just as most that have had a concussion look normal.

Although people with a concussion appear normal, there are times when the injured simply cannot make the necessary connections to complete a once simple daily task. The ability to be successful is often based on how rested or stressed the brain is to complete the task successfully.

Sadly, a broken finger gets more sympathy than a concussion – out of sight, out of mind.

The good news is that the brain has an incredible capacity to heal and learn to reroute its circuits but the signs must be heeded and respected. The danger for athletes and high achievers is, not knowing when to stop to allow sufficient healing time.

Brain Navigators understands. We can assist you and your family on the road to recovery.

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