A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or violent shaking of the head or upper body leading to loss of balance, concentration, memory, loss of consciousness and severe headaches. Notably, concussions are common in people who play contact sports such as soccer.
Symptoms of concussive traumatic brain injury may be subtle from the onset but gradually worsens over time. They include temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, fatigue, appearing dazed, ringing in the ears, vomiting, nausea, and amnesia surrounding the trauma, headache, dizziness and delayed response to questions.
Moreover, symptoms of concussions may be experienced immediately or delayed in onset by hours after injury such as psychological adjustment problems and gloominess, sleep troubles, seizures, sensitivity to light and noise, concentration and memory complaints and irritability.
A violent blow to one's head or neck causes the brain to slide back and forth forcefully against the inner walls of the skull. Besides, brain injury that affect brain functioning occurs when there is a sudden deceleration or acceleration of the head due to events such as violent shaking or car accidents. Bleeding in or around the brain is imminent after such brain injury which can be fatal leading to symptoms like prolonged drowsiness and confusion.
Factors that may increase the risk of a concussion in individuals may include involvement in motor vehicle collision, falling especially in infants and the elderly, a history a history of concussion, being a victim of physical abuse, involvement in combat especially by soldiers, bicycle and pedestrian accidents; and participation in high risk sporting activities like soccer, hockey, boxing and rugby without proper safety equipment.
Individuals who have had concussions stand a double risk of developing epilepsy within the first five years of the injury. Further, complications such as post-traumatic headaches, post-traumatic vertigo that is, a sense of spinning or dizziness; post concussion syndrome such as headaches, thinking difficulties and dizziness and cumulative effects of multiple brain injuries like impairments that limits the ability to function. Experiencing a subsequent concussion before resolving the signs and symptoms of the first may lead to rapid and fatal brain swelling. This is because the levels of brain chemicals are altered after a concussion and it requires about a week to stabilize.
In order for the brain to recover from concussion, it is advisable for a victim to take plenty of rest. Avoid general physical exertion like sports until the symptoms stop, limit activities that require mental concentration such as playing games, schoolwork, watching television or using computer until you recover from concussion. For headaches, seek the attention of a general practitioner for pain relievers that may not increase the risk of bleeding. The general practitioner may also advise on when to resume playing competitive sports.
It has been proven that some individuals who have had many concussions as they grow up are more likely to develop lasting, and even progressive, injury that restricts their functioning capability. Therefore, it is advisable not to return to vigorous activity when symptoms of a concussion are still there.
Wear protective gear when engaged in sports or any other recreational activities that may cause concussion, buckle the seat belt as this may prevent serious injury to the head in case of a traffic accident. In addition, keeping the home well-lit and floors free from things that may make one to fall as unsafe homes is the leading cause of concussions due to falling, exercise regularly to strengthen leg muscles thus improving balance. It is also necessary to educate others about concussions and to protect the children by blocking off the stairways and installing window guards.