With all the attention on concussions and brain injuries in sport, especially contact sports like hockey, football and rugby, it can be difficult to sift through to the important information. Though basketball may not be classically classified as a contact sport, knocks to the head can happen from elbows to falls. It is important to treat head injuries with caution and care.Below you will find a compilation of the “need-to-know” facts on concussions. The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation has recently released Guidelines for Pediatric Concussions find them here: CLICK HERE
(Image Source from Guidelines for Pediatric Concussion)
A concussion is a common head injury, also known as a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI). It is an injury that is caused by the brain being shaken around inside the skull after a direct blow to the head, or a sudden jerking of the head or neck when the body is hit. There is a misconception that you have to be knocked out to sustain a concussion, when in fact any contact to the head or body that causes rapid head movement can cause a concussion.
Symptoms of a Concussion*:
- Decreased Concentration – May have the inability to think or remember recent events. May appear dazed or stunned. People usually describe themselves as being ‘foggy’ or have a ringing in the ears.
- Vision problems – May have blurry, double vision or “see stars”. Light sensitivity is also common.
- Emotional Changes – May be irritable, sad, or nervous. Athletes with severe concussions may show unusual emotions, a personality change or inappropriate behaviour.
"An athlete who has had one concussion is more likely to have another than an athlete who hasn’t been concussed
" - Hard Facts about Concussions,
Recovering from a Concussion*:
- Get some rest - It is one of the best things you can do to help your brain recover.
- Take it slow - Everyone recovers at a different pace, some symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. How quickly you improve depends on many different factors – the severity of the injury, your age, and how healthy you were before your concussion.
- Returning to Play - Remember that there is no such thing as a minor head injury; symptoms may become worse with exertion. An athlete should not return to play until cleared by a professional.
- The Brain Injury Association of Canada
- Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM)
- Stop Concussions Foundation
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Concussion is a topic that affects everyone in sport in some way whether you are a coach, athlete, trainer, physician, or director. If you wish to read more information on concussion prevention, symptoms, or recovery there are a lot of resources available to the sport community.
Here are a few links to get you started:
*This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, anyone that is suspected to have a concussion should always be seen by a medical professional.
Here are some links to excellent concussion video's;
- Video #1
- Video #2
References Available from the SIRC Collection:
COVASSIN T, ELBIN R, SARMIENTO K. Educating Coaches About Concussion in Sports: Evaluation of the CDC’s ‘Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports’ Initiative. Journal Of School Health. May 2012;82(5):233-238.
Harmon K, Drezner J, Roberts W, et al. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine position statement: concussion in sport. British Journal Of Sports Medicine. January 2013;47(1):15-26.
King D, Brughelli M, Hume P, Gissane C. Assessment, Management and Knowledge of Sport-Related Concussion: Systematic Review. Sports Medicine. April 2014;44(4):449-471.
Meehan W, Mannix R, O’Brien M, Collins M. The Prevalence of Undiagnosed Concussions in Athletes. Clinical Journal Of Sport Medicine. September 2013;23(5):339-342.
Mihalik J, Lengas E, Register-Mihalik J, Oyama S, Begalle R, Guskiewicz K. The Effects of Sleep Quality and Sleep Quantity on Concussion Baseline Assessment. Clinical Journal Of Sport Medicine. September 2013;23(5):343-348