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Be Aware - Concussions 101

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  • Written By: Lynn Schmitz, DPT and Cydney Anderson
Be Aware - Concussions 101

“Ah! You’ll be fine. You just got your bell rung. Don’t worry about it.”

“You didn’t have a concussion because you weren’t knocked out.”

These longstanding thoughts about concussions are far from the truth. What is a concussion? Well, another name for a concussion is a mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Yes! Brain. Injury. They happen when you have encountered a blow to head or violent shaking of the head and body.

The head doesn’t have to come in contact with something for a concussion to occur. They happen more frequent then you would think during all types of situations; motor vehicle accidents, falls, being kicked by livestock, etcetera. You don’t have to be playing football or soccer to obtain a traumatic brain injury, and knowing the signs of a concussion is the best way to prevent long-term disabilities occurred by concussions.

Awareness of the signs and symptoms is key. Even if a concussion is only suspected, it needs to be checked out further no matter what. When someone develops a concussion, others around them may notice one or more changes in that person’s behavior. We call these concussion signs, which may include (one, some, or all):

  • Moves clumsily (altered coordination)
  • Exhibits balance problems
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Seems confused
  • Forgets plays or instructions
  • Is unsure about game, score, opponent
  • Responds slowly to questions
  • Forgets events prior to hit or fall
  • Forgets events after the hit or fall
  • Shows changes in mood, behavior, or personality

The concussed individual could also notice that things are not the same. Signs for an individual to pay attention to are (one, some, or all):

  • Headache or pressure in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Double vision, blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, fatigued, or groggy
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Problems concentrating
  • Problems remembering
  • Foggy or hazy feeling
  • Just not feeling right or feeling down
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Anxiety and/or depression due to activity restrictions and less than normal time spent with peers (once a formal diagnosis has been confirmed)

Even though concussions can happen to anyone, let’s talk about one of the most common causes of concussions: sports injuries.

Every student athlete needs a concussion team. Who is on this team? It starts with the athlete themselves. We need to then add lots of key players to this team; parents, teammates, and coaches. All figures who spend a lot of time with the student athlete. We also need teachers and school nurses who are around them throughout the day. Lastly, family practitioners and rehab specialists, like physical therapists, round out the team.

This team is vital to making sure if a concussion does occur, the student athlete is taken care of and given the correct treatment. Someone stepping up to say, “I think something is not right here. Let’s get you checked out,” can just save an athlete’s physical and mental health. Awareness leads to action which could just save a person’s future brain health.

When it has been determined that someone has developed a concussion, we in Rehab Services here at Myrtue Medical Center are here to help. We’ll educate you more about your concussion, use cutting edge testing to further identify your strengths and weaknesses, and will provide customized care in safely taking you through the concussion rehab process, utilizing the latest research. This enables the patient to safely return back toward normal as quickly as possible.

Learn more about the Rehabilitation Services at Myrtue Medical Center by clicking here or you can give us a call to schedule an appointment at 712.755.4342.

Find more information on concussions and the seriousness of them by going here.