A concussion is a type of brain injury that is characterized by a hit to the head that causes the brain to shift violently in the skull. When these types of hits occur, it can cause lasting damage to the brain, particularly for athletes that suffer concussions repeatedly. Not only is it important to understand what happens when a person sustains a concussion, but also it is important to recognize the signs of a concussion and what to do to get help.
Football players often suffer from these injuries because of the nature of the sport. However, without proper medical attention, the situation can quickly turn detrimental for the player. It should be noted that this type of injury is not specific to this level of contact sport; any young player can fall, come into contact with another person or have an accident that may result in an injury with a concussion. Knowing what to do is important to saving lives, as this is the type of injury that can quickly spiral out of control and get worse, particularly if the athlete is allowed to continue to play in spite of the injury.
Understanding the ABCs of concussions is important for coaches, parents, players and spectators to ensure that when a tough hit has occurred, if there is a concussion, those in control can act quickly to avert a medical crisis.
The ABCs of concussions are as such:
A: Assess the situation at hand: Pay attention to how the athlete was hit and where; assess all aspects of the situation, from how other players may have fallen on or around the person and where else they might have been injured.
B: Be as alert as possible for the signs and symptoms of a concussion: This can include a range of signs, from nausea to dizziness and more. Additional signs and symptoms of a concussion can include vomiting, headache, confusion, sleepiness, fainting, behavioral or personality changes and more. Moreover, these symptoms can last well into treatment for the injury and throughout the healing process after a concussion.
C: Contact a medical professional for help: This might consist of calling 911 or calling a physician to get the player to medical treatment right away. This is important because left untreated, a concussion can lead to other medical difficulties, particularly if there are additional head injuries that simply cannot be seen; in fact, this is why it is important not to move people that have been hurt and have a suspect concussion; there may be damage to the skull or spine and moving the individual in question could result in greater injury. A health care professional can provide advice on how to handle the situation and on-site, they can safely move the player to safety.
It is important to never allow a player to continue to play after sustaining a concussion. The follow-up injury can be even worse and cause even greater damage to the brain. Always make sure he or she receives a medical evaluation and has plenty of time to rest and heal before playing again. It is also important to contact the player’s parents or guardians right away to let them know of the injury, so that they can begin to make sound medical decisions.
The player should not be allowed to play again following a concussion until they have been cleared by a medical professional. Once a person sustains a traumatic brain injury, their likelihood of repeating the injury to a worse extent is increased because the skull has been compromised. This can result in greater damage, including bleeding in the brain and permanent damage. Concussions should always be taken seriously, particularly as they occur in young athletes. It is important for parents and coaches alike to be well informed about this type of injury and what to do should it occur. In fact, for some young athletes, their lives could depend on the responsiveness of the adults around them. Starting with an understanding of the ABCs of concussions and how to react should they occur is the first step to ensuring the safety of every athlete that participates in sports from a young age.