What is a concussion?
Concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body elsewhere, which causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth within the skull. This sudden movement of the brain can cause stretching and tearing of brain cells, damaging the cells and creating chemical changes in the brain, but not structural damages.
What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
Most adults with a concussion recover quickly and fully within 7 to 10 days, and children within a month. During recovery, it is important to know that many people have a range of symptoms. Some symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for hours or even days after the injury. The athlete may not realize they have problems until they try to do usual activities again. Typical signs and symptoms are included in the table below.
Call your doctor or go to your emergency department if you suddenly experience any of the following:
Headaches that worsen
Difficulty with you vision
Can’t recognize people or places
Increasing neck pain
Unusual behaviour change
One pupil larger than the other Loss of consciousness
Weakness or numbness in the arms and legs
Most of all, if you have any symptom that concerns you, your family members, or friends, don’t delay, see a doctor right away.
What can I do to feel better?
Rest is the key! Be sure to get enough sleep at night- no late nights. Keep the same bedtime weekdays and weekends. Take daytime naps or rest breaks when you feel tired or fatigued. Do not drink alcohol. Limit physical activity as well as activities that require a lot of thinking or concentration. These activities can make symptoms worse. This includes using a cell phone for prolonged periods, homework, job-related activities, reading etc.
Drink lots of fluids and eat carbohydrates or protein to main appropriate blood sugar levels. As symptoms decrease, you may begin to gradually return to your daily activities. If symptoms worsen or return, lessen your activities, and then try again to increase your activities gradually. During recovery, it is normal to feel frustrated and sad when you do not feel right and you can’t be as active as usual.
Returning to Sport?
You should NEVER return to play if you still have ANY symptoms. Through the new concussion initiative and rugby smart, rugby playing athletes must have complete rest from physical and cognitive activities for 14 days until symptoms have cleared. Following this period graduated return to play can begin under the supervision of an appropriate health care provider.
For more information contact Foundation Sports and Rehabilitation Clinic on 579 5601, or email [email protected]
Foundation Sports and Rehabilitation Clinic
78 First Ave, Tauranga, 3110