Common Concussion related Questions & Answers
a) What is a concussion?
A concussion occurs when there is a forceful blow or acceleration of the brain within the skull, causing a temporary loss or interruption in brain function. People often believe that the head must undergo a direct blow in order for a concussion to occur, however concussions in sports often occur when the body his hit causing the brain to accelerate within the skull and resulting in trauma to the brain to a certain degree.
b) What are the symptoms for a concussion to be aware of?
If you have been injured, undergone a head injury or have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, refer to the following list for possible symptoms of a concussion. It is important to note that if you have been injured and think you may have a concussion, seek medical attention immediately. It is important to note that the following symptoms may or may not be present, as each concussion is different.
Physical symptoms of a concussion may or may include any of the following at any severity: loss of consciousness, pain in head, pain in neck, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or noise, balance disturbances, sleep disturbances, slurred or incoherent speech or pressure in head or neck.
Emotional symptoms of a concussion may include any of the following at any severity: changes in mood or mood swings, emotions that are not appropriate for the situation, tearfulness, irritability, sadness, nervous or uncharacteristic anxiety
Cognitive symptoms of a concussion may include any of the following at any severity: memory loss, loss of consciousness, disorientation, inability to focus, confusion, repetitive conversations or questions, difficulty solving simple and/or complex problems, difficulty following tasks or conversations.
c) What do I do if I have a concussion?
It is important to seek emergency medical attention if you or another athlete experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe or worsening headache
- Short term memory loss or inability to remember events surrounding the injury
- Extreme drowsiness or inability to wake
- Loss of consciousness or awareness
- Any blood or fluid coming from the head, eyes, ears, nose or mouth
- Bruising behind the ears or around eyes
- Tender spots anywhere on the head
The first 24-48 hours are crucial for concussion treatment. An appointment should be made for an assessment within the first 2 days following the incident in order for us to design an appropriate course of treatment for you.
d) When is it safe for me to return to sport or activity?
It is important to understand that brain injuries are very sensitive and require a lot of time and care to rehabilitate. Although symptoms may subside, it is important to be sure you have fully healed before returning to work or sport, as overexertion or re-injury can have detrimental effects on even the strongest athletes.
Remember, your brain is working full time. Even activities that you would normally find relaxing, like watching TV or reading, is work for your brain. If your brain is not given the proper time and relaxation to heal, the damage can be prolonged, or even permanent.
Before returning to sport or work, it is crucial to have a full assessment completed to test cognitive and physical function. Once symptoms have subsided and you are feeling physically, emotionally and mentally back to normal, an assessment can be completed to ensure there are no concerns.