In my report, I will be talking about concussions. Concussion, by definition, is a clinical syndrome characterized by immediate and transient posttraumatic impairment of neural functions. Some examples include alterations of consciousness, disturbance of vision, and loss of equilibrium. These are just some of the effects of a concussion. A concussion is a serious head injury and is not something people should take lightly.
The brain is composed of soft, delicate structures that lie within the rigid skull. Surrounding the brain is a tough, leathery outer covering called the dura (door-a). Within the brain, there are cranial nerves that are responsible for many activities, such as eye-opening, facial movements, speech, and hearing.
These nerves carry and receive messages that allow the person to think and function normally. There are also centers that control the level of consciousness and vital activities, such as breathing. The brain is cushioned by blood and spinal fluid. There is very little extra room within the skull cavity.
An injury to the head causes the brain to bounce against the rigid bone of the skull. This force may cause tearing or twisting of the structures and blood vessels of the brain, which results in a breakdown of the normal flow of messages within the brain. The damage to the brain generally is found deep within the brain tissue. Because of this damage, the normal function of the brain signals is interrupted.
There are different levels of severity for concussions. The grading system is as follows:
- Grade 1
The mild concussion occurs when the person does not lose consciousness (pass out) but may seem dazed.
- Grade 2
The slightly more severe form occurs when the person does not lose consciousness but has a period of confusion and does not recall the event.
- Grade 3
The classic concussion, which is the most severe form, occurs when the person loses consciousness for a brief period of time and has no memory of the event. Evaluation from a health-care provider should be performed as soon as possible after the injury.
A concussion can happen to anyone, at any time. The most common causes of concussion include a blow to the head from a motor vehicle crash, fall or assault. People at higher risk are those who have difficulty walking and fall often, those who are active in a high impact contact sports and those who are taking blood thinners, such as coumadin. Mild head injury, such as concussion is a frequent cause for hospital admission, with an estimate of more than 600,000 cases per year in the United States.
The signs and symptoms of a concussion include severe headache, dizziness, vomiting, increased size of one pupil or sudden weakness in an arm or leg. The person may seem restless, agitated, or irritable. Often, the person may have memory loss or seem forgetful. These symptoms may last for several hours to weeks, depending on the seriousness of the injury. Any period of loss of consciousness or amnesia of the head injury should be evaluated by a health-care professional.
As the brain tissue swells, the person may feel increasingly drowsy or confused. If the person is difficult to awaken or passes out, medical attention should be sought immediately. This could be a sign of a more severe injury. People with a similar case should get an MRI or a CT scan. An MRI does not involve an X-ray image. This will examine brain structures. A CT scan is an X-ray image. This takes a picture of the whole brain.
The treatment for a concussion is usually to watch the person closely for any change in the level of consciousness. The person may need to stay in the hospital for close observation. Surgery is usually not necessary. Headache and dizziness are common, but if the headache persists or becomes severe, it is best to seek medical attention.
The post-concussion syndrome may occur in some people. The syndrome generally consists of a persistent headache, dizziness, irritability, memory changes, and vision changes. The person may seem overly emotional or unable to control their emotions. Some people experience unexplained depression. Difficulty with concentration or problems with thinking and planning ahead also are reported.
Symptoms may begin weeks or even months after the initial injury. Although the symptoms generally resolve over time, some people need a rehabilitation specialist to oversee a program for recovery.
In conclusion, concussions are a serious injury. They can be very stressful for the person injured and his/her friends and family. Speaking from experience, concussions aren’t fun to deal with. It does really take a lot of time to heel completely. People should take great caution when dealing with a concussion.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that results from a bump blow or jolt to either the head or body causing the brain to move rapidly in the skull. A concussion affects normal brain function and can have severe and long-term health effects (McGannon, et al., 2013). In this regard, an individual should not ignore the slightest bump on the head as it can have serious long-term effects.
The signs and symptoms of a concussion include headaches, nausea, fatigue, memory problems, confusion and sleep disturbances, or even mood changes. Symptoms manifest right after the injury, but some are not recognized until later. It is estimated that 1.6 to 3.8 concussions occur each year in the US associated with sports and recreation.
Concussions in Football and Hockey since the 1990s
Diehl (2010), asserts that the National Football League continues to have an increased number of retired players who have suffered concussions and developed memory and cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s, depression, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative brain disease associated with multiple head traumas.
In 1994, Paul Tagliabue the NFL commissioner created the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee. He also asserts that concussions are a part of the profession and as an occupational hazard. In the same year, Troy Aikman a Dallas quarterback took a knee to head an event that landed him in the hospital.
In the same year, Chicago Bears Merrill Hoge retires due to multiple injuries on the head which results in not being able to recognize anyone. The NFL commissioner dismissed the reports on the media that concussions were increasing as mere assumptions. In 1995, Pellman experimented with Boomer Esiason’s return from a concussion by using an unproven system involving QB’s sitting before a computer screen and concentrating.
In 1997, The American Academy of Neurology published its guidelines recommending removal of players after having concussions, but NFL dismisses it.
In 1999, the NFL issued millions in disability payments to retired players. In 2,000, research indicates 61% of former NFL players have had concussions. 49% of the players had numbness or tingling, 28% had neck or cervical spine arthritis, 31% had memory loss issues, and 16% could not dress while 11% could not feed themselves (Macciocchi, 2001). In 2012 NFL reported 261 concussions, 229 in 2013, 206 in 2014, and 271 in 2015. In 2016, the NFL and NFL Players’ Association implemented a new policy to enforce concussion protocol.
In Ice Hockey, total concussions are relatively small as compared to football. There is lower participation in the game at both high school and college levels. Research indicates that from 1990 through to 2004, the rate of concussions in men who participated in the sport stood at 0.41 per 1000. Concussions in hockey players happen at 6.3% during practice and at 10.3% during the game. The relationship between age and shocks, however, remains unclear. From 1995 to 1997, the concussion rate was higher in ice hockey players. From 2006 to 2013, only 511 incidents were reported in 844 games (Iverson et al., 2001).
How the media portrays concussions in football compared to Ice hockey?
Slobounov and Sebastianelli (2014) cite that concussion issues in sports have recently attracted considerable media coverage in the past few years. The media focused on professional football or Ice Hockey and such as high-speed games where there is full contact between powerful players. Despite there has been a dramatic improvement in how the media reports on the severity associated with serious brain injuries and concussions, more need to be done to improve the health of the players.
It is of essence that the media reports on facts rather than sensationalizing issues that could lead to misinterpretation of such sports. Hockey and Football are the collision sports with the highest rate of concussions according to media reports. The discrepancy between reported cases and actual injuries are similar in football, which has the largest cases of concussions (Womble and Collins, 2016).
The American media leaves the impression that TBI and violence are part and parcel of hockey and cannot be avoided. In the past, the media focused on TBI only when star players were affected, however, there is a shift in focus since all players are included. In both Ice Hockey and Football, the media would in the past indicate that protective gear was a way to ensure player’s safety, but they now say that protective gear is part of the problem since it makes the players feel invulnerable invoking risk-taking in them. The media has been blamed for fanning fear of the long-term effects associated with head injuries.
The NHL accused media of speculation and spreading fear rather than having scientific evidence (Niranjan and Lunsford, 2014). Further, the Commission denied media reports that concussions are likely to lead to CTE in the long run.
The media has covered all players who have died in the NHL as being suspected of having CTE. The media has investigated all deaths of Ice hockey players by first assuming that they had brain-related injuries, as a result of concussions they acquired from the field.
It is no different with football players in the NFL. Despite numerous reports associating head injuries to brain damage, the NFL still denies the connection. The media reports about the players who are reluctant to report injuries for fear of missing playtime. Such players do not realize the long term effects until they retire from the field.
Concussions in Ice hockey and football
Both football and hockey are physical contact sports that can have strenuous effects on the body. In respect to concussions or overall injuries, football appears to be affected than hockey. The American Sports data carried out research in 2006 that indicates that in every 100 participants of ice hockey 9.5 received concussions while the number doubled in football.
Other determinants of injuries include the position of the players in both games. Defensemen and forwards in hockey are likely to sustain concussions since they spend a lot of time skating and in contact with others In football, however, goalkeepers are less liable to sustain injuries as compared to other players in touch with the opposition.
Concussions are similar in both sports with most of them resulting from T-bone hits or between the eyes. The hit rattles the brain’s center of gravity. Further, the run makes the mind to rock dangerously forward and backward such that it hits the skull. In younger players, the brain is flush with the bone making the effect less severe. What’s more, helmet to helmet hits can cause serious injuries.
Bumps to the side of the head are far more serious since the spinning of the brain during a rotational concussion can lead to serious injuries. Experts assert that rotational forces result in the breakage of nerve cells and fibers eventually causing a stretch in the blood vessels beyond their ability to stay intact. After a hit, the brain gradually accelerates releasing neurotransmitters which eventually become chaotic and useless. The cell fails to transmit nerve impulses since it’s impaired and not –functional.
Protocols for football and hockey athletes
Throughout history, considerable information has been accumulated regarding the psychological and physical attributes of high profile players. Based on the present information, desirable fitness profiles are laid out for elite players particularly in hockey, and the patterns are used to compare future players. The protocols are necessary to identify a player’s weaknesses, fitness, and physical or physiological capability of a player.
There is a model for sports injury prevention which follows a conceptual process. The model determines the extent of harm; it also determines the mechanism of particular injury that needs to be prevented, developing and implementing interventions as well as reassesses the injury incidence to determine whether the process was a success.
The NHL and NLF have come up with measures to prevent concussions likely to lead to brain damage in the future. The organizations have established concussion management protocols which entail baseline testing that requires all athletes to complete an Impact Neurocognitive as well as a Biodex balance system baseline test before they are cleared as first-year athletes. The test includes checking concussion history, cognitive assessment, and symptom evaluation.
The NHL and NFL have made significant strides in reducing the number of a concussion occurring in the field. While concussions cannot be eliminated, they can be reduced. In this regard, technological advancements in finding solutions have been adopted. The NFL, for instance, introduced protective gear and new helmets, therefore making profound changes progressively and quickly.
The newly introduced helmets have a cut out at the front meant to make it flex more but at the same time maintain an overall stiffness. Additionally, the thick padding that is behind the free space makes it move less, but just enough such that the player can take big hits. The impact from any side allows flex in the helmet such that it can dissipate the hit before the impact is felt on the head. Those are just a few of the features relating to new helmets and mouth guards intended to reduce injuries. It is worth noting that the new initiatives introduced before there are significant reduction and significance to the athletes.
Besides new improved attire, the league implemented two rule changes with the objective of augmenting athlete’s safety. Firstly, an offensive player intending to catch a ball that has already been intercepted will be ruled as defenseless, therefore, cannot be attacked in the neck area or head by the opposition as possession changes and a penalty will be enforced. Moreover, the league has issued certified players trainers who are located in sky boxes in every game the mandate to stop play at the touch of a button once they see a player exhibiting injury signs even if he sustained the injuries in previous games.
What’s more, the NFL is liaising with the Canadian football league to improve concussion treatment. NHL, on the other hand, recommends the use of standardized helmets to reduce incidents of skull injuries besides issuing proper training to determine head and neck injury. The NHL concussion protocol stipulates that players must get approval from the team doctor before returning to play. They are taken to a calm place to be evaluated; their memories, balance as well as general awareness are assessed.
However, the NHL and NFL need to do much more to reduce incidents of injury in the field. Firstly, there should be mandatory sit-out periods for concussed players. Additionally, there should be independent doctors to examine the players. The NHL and NFL should ensure retired players are taken care of with proper remuneration as well as medical covers.
Evolving Technologies likely to prevent concussions
Lots of focus has been placed on developing technologies and equipment with the objective of preventing head injuries. Since the 1990’s, helmets were designed to minimize head injury resulting in morbidity and mortality. Such helmets were nothing more of leather padding, therefore, were slowly replaced with metal helmets with plastic to reinforce protection. Although helmets can assist players to minimize the extent of the injury sustained, recent innovations such as the Q-collar made by Q-30 innovations utilizes a radical approach to determine the extent of injuries on a player (Fainaru-Wada and Fainaru, 2014).
The device lightly clamps down a player’s jugular veins causing the brain to swell and fit more appropriately within the skull. The idea is to create a backfill in the brain such that the volume of blood increases. The device, therefore, assists in determining the actual number of hits a player sustains. Current technologies seem to concentrate on improving helmets by redesigning them such that they can displace the force of a blow or minimize the impact for the part of the face or head that takes the most hit.
NFL and NHL health care plan for players
Health and wellness entail much more than emotional or physical well-being. It means having resources and support to ensure stability and productivity in all areas of life. Players need health care benefits as well as specialized treatment programs. What’s more financial assistance and career-building are imperative. The NFL offers a comprehensive wellness program to its athletes (Webbe, 2011). The program involves providing free consultation on a medical issue for the players and their families.
Players are checked before games and have a health insurance package. Moreover, retired players have access to a neurological care program that provides access to comprehensive tests in six hospitals across the US. The players also have access to the spine treatment program across selected hospitals in the US. Moreover, they have a joint replacement program, prescription drug card program, priority access to assisted living as well as vested inactive life insurance.
NHL, on the other hand, provides medical cover for the players on a contractual base of seven years and beyond that if a player sustains injuries. Moreover, the league provides insurance to some players through a temporary total disability program where each team plays a premium according to the salaries of the five top-paid players but it can administer the coverage in a manner it sees fit.
Effects of Concussions on NHL and NFL players
Concussions, as established earlier, have long become part of hockey and football. However, minimal concussions can be experienced through recommended precautionary measures combined with the recent technologies. It is imperative that players maintain their well-being for the sake of the game as well as their lives in the long haul. Concussions have led to a loss of talented athletes or long term irreversible injuries.
Once a player sustains a head injury, the resulting effect is that he gets pulled out of the game, sometimes never to play again which is a costly affair to the team. Benefits packages offered to players who have had concussions can affect the associations negatively such that they may fail to have enough resources for the active players. Concussion issues have led to numerous lawsuits that are costly for both leagues (Robidoux, 2001).
Long-term effects of multiple concussions
Exposure to concussions can cause an individual player to have mild cognitive impairments (MCI’s), CTE as well as other adverse outcomes. Additionally, multiple concussions can lead to post-concussion syndrome (PCS) (Robidoux, 2001). As such, it is paramount that a player fully recovers from a single concussion rather than risking a subsequent concussion. Failure to adhere could lead to severe neurological damage. With such an understanding, managing concussions calls for comprehensive, specialized, and state of the art methods.
The media has taken a personal interest in researching and reporting on concussions experienced in football, ice hockey, and all contact sports. Despite the growing awareness about the long-term effects of concussions from contact sports, calls by the media and the public to burn such sports may be premature. Collision sports expose individuals to neurological dangers, but they come with a host of benefits as well.
The media has sensitized the public about the dangers linked to concussions prompting the NHL and NFL to take appropriate actions to reduce concussion rates. As such, one could argue that the media has played a significant role in saving the lives of individual players or highlighting their plight. Many athletes have received treatment and benefits due to media exposure.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination. Concussions are usually caused by a blow to the head. Violently shaking the head and upper body also can cause concussions.
Some concussions cause you to lose consciousness. It’s possible to have a concussion and not realize it. Concussions are particularly common if you play a contact sport, such as football. Most people usually recover fully after a concussion. Your brain has the consistency of gelatin. It’s cushioned from everyday jolts and bumps by cerebrospinal fluid inside your skull.
A blow to your head and neck or upper body can cause your brain to slide back and forth forcefully against the inner walls of your skull. Sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head, caused by events such as a car crash or being violently shaken, also can cause brain injury. These injuries affect brain function, usually for a brief period, resulting in signs and symptoms of concussion.
This type of brain injury may lead to bleeding in or around your brain, causing symptoms such as prolonged drowsiness and confusion. These symptoms may develop immediately or later. Such as bleeding in your brain can be fatal. That’s why anyone who experiences a brain injury needs monitoring in the hours afterward and emergency care if symptoms become worse.
Signs and symptoms of a concussion may include headache or a feeling of pressure in the head, temporary loss of consciousness, vision loss, amnesia surrounding the traumatic event, dizziness or “seeing stars”, ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, delayed response to questions, and appearing dazed Fatigue.
After your doctor asks detailed questions about your injury, he or she may perform a neurological examination. This evaluation includes checking your vision, hearing, strength and sensation, balance, coordination, and reflexes. If any of the tests are failed, you may be diagnosed with a concussion.
Treatment for a concussion depends on how bad your concussion is. You might need surgery or other medical procedures if you have bleeding in the brain, swelling of the brain, a serious injury to the brain. However, most concussions don’t require surgery or any major medical treatment. If the concussion is causing headaches, your doctor may recommend over the counter pain relievers such as Advil or Tylenol.
Your doctor will also probably ask you to get plenty of rest, avoid sports and other strenuous activities, and avoid driving a vehicle or riding a bike for 24 hours or even a few months, depending on the severity of your injury. Alcohol might slow recovery, so ask your doctor if you should avoid drinking it.
In recent years, the increased number of concussions experienced by those under the age of 18 has simultaneously encouraged its controversy. However, as pediatrician Stephen M. Rothman argues, this has been a movement formed under false pretenses, since there is no way the injuries experienced by the youth are any way comparable to those experienced by long-term professional athletes who do not take the safety precautions necessary to avoid further head trauma.
Furthermore, the evolution of the definition of a concussion itself has allowed the continuation of this unnecessary reaction. Firstly, Rossman states that the speed that which students are rushed into medical services that undoubtedly bar them from some of the healthiest activities that people of their age can participate in is unfortunate because of the overweight issue that still prevails in the country. Students are more encouraged to take unnecessary precautions due to insufficient standards evident at the professional level.
For instance, there are certain precautionary methods that should take place after a student has a concussion: “if the patient is still asymptomatic after two weeks, she can return to normal play. But if an athlete experiences two concussions in a single season, she must sit out the remainder of the season and possibly return the next year. ” (Rothman, pg. 1) Parents ironically negatively react to concussions, when professional concussions are never treated as they medically should.
Professionals are often urged to get back into the field as soon as possible, potentially worsening their injuries and leading to chronic issues for their later years. As long as students take the precautions by remaining inactive after their concussion to prove that their injuries are asymptomatic, then all should go well as planned.
Secondly, the concussions that children have from playing sports in the short amount of time that they have is completely on the other side of the spectrum of professionals who have been at the receiving end of worse injuries. This issue is compounded by the fact that the term concussion has had its own evolution over the years.
In 1977, a concussion used to be understood as something that was experienced by someone who had lost consciousness. However, in 2013, the term became used whenever any of the symptoms were experienced such as, “headaches, amnesia, and sensitivity to light and sound — but not necessarily loss of consciousness. “ (Rothman, pg. 1) in other words, The public’s reaction to increased concussions over the years has been due to this change of definition.
So while the number of concussions has not necessarily increased over time, it appears as if they have. As a result, people have become more worried about a subject to an unnecessary degree. In conclusion, Rothman’s article which pleads to parents to worry less about the concussions their children experience is accurate.
Since young athletes cannot be compared to experienced ones because of the shorter time that which they have played and the harsher quality of their injuries, and also because the definition of a concussion has altered over these last previous decades, it is silly to perpetuate this frenzied reaction. Instead, those involved should see whether or not the impact of the hit has resulted in a serious trauma by waiting to see whether or not symptoms arise within the first 2 weeks.
In this time the student will not remain physically active, but if this trial proves their good health, then they should be able to return to their sport without fear. It is only with this tactic that the controversy behind the concussion may finally cease.
In the US, all athletes no matter of age and sport suffer from roughly 300,00 concussions a year, This issue needs to be solved or fixed as soon as possible. If not the 300,00 will increase and become a bigger threat. Although health professions advocate not to play contact sports until the age of 16, the realist play contact sports at the age of 6. One particular sport has to lead the way and shoe other sports on how to keep their respective athletes safe and out of harming their brains. More specifically this essay will be based on the National Football League or the NFL.
Concussions are like any other injury they are serious, they have symptoms, and there are treatments. “A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.” Stated by the Centers for Disease Control. The most common ways that are found to get a concussion is from headbutting in soccer, head to head in football, or plain out hitting your head one something.
The symptoms of a concussion may vary from headaches, nausea, dizziness, blurry vision, bothered by light and sound, concentration problems, and confusion. Also, research shows that 80-90% of concussions heal 7-10 days.
However, symptoms can last for weeks, months, and sometimes years. Therefore the treatment, there are many ways to treat a concussion such as immediate removal from practice and or competition. Also, taking a rest from anything and do not rush into doing anything. One way to make sure you have a concussion is to take an ImPACT test at your local doctor. A concussion is a very serious injury and there are many symptoms, and possible ways to get hurt.
As national sports have taken over and are getting sports leagues millions if not billions of dollars a year, due to the violence in sports. Football one of the most dangerous if not has been able to succeed so well from the most violent of the sport. Which attracts fans looking for big hits. As stated in the USA columnist and sportswriter Robert Lipsyte notes “The violence of the game, especially on the college and pro level, has been one of its main attractions.”
The new development of technologies has made huge progress in the study of human brains. Also, it has come to light that concussions are worse than we thought, and have minor and major consequences. As a result, football leagues like the NFL which has taught people to play after getting “a little dinged up” are getting massive amounts of criticism.
To first understand how football will be threatened by increased awareness of concussions, it needs to know that concussions have a life long effect on people. For example, after conducting a sample of 1,063 NFL retirees in 2009, the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan found that the rate of mental disease in NFL retirees was multiple times higher. Football may seem like a fun sport to watch, but there are many injuries that are serious that can ruin people’s whole lives.
Ever since the true dangers of head blows have been uncovered, one might suspect that leagues like the NFL have acknowledged the dangers of concussions, and since done everything in their ability to protect players from these dangerous head blows. Nonetheless, this is not true. As late as 2007 the NFL had denied the strong correlation of higher rates of brain disease with the league’s retirees. In an HBO interview in 2007 the chairman of the NFL‟s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, Dr. Ira Casson, flat out denied the higher rate of brain disease among NFL veterans. In their book, Carroll and Rosner sum up the entire interview with one relatively short quote.
In this quote, Casson is being asked a series of questions by an HBO interviewer. At one point the interview goes as follows:[Interviewer asks], Is there any evidence, as far as you’re concerned, that links multiple head injuries among pro football players with depression?” , [Casson responds] No.‟…with dementia?” , No‟,…with early onset of Alzheimer’s, No “, Is there any evidence… that links multiple head injuries with any long -term problem like that?” , No. As one can see, as late as 2007, the NFL was ignorant, perhaps by choice, to the research being done warning the league of the risks its players faced. Itʻs is especially important to note that, without even acknowledging the problem, the league certainly could not begin to find its solution.
Only after being brought to congress in 2010 offseason did the league pass any real safety rules in response to concussion research. Nonetheless, none of the rule changes did much to prevent the prevalence of concussions in the following 2010 season. The lives of specific NFL retirees also show the crippling effects of football that can have on oneʻs life. In the first week of the 2010 season, it became immediately apparent that the NFL did not do enough to protect its players (Carroll and Rossner 264).
In one week, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker, Stewart Bradley, was Jared in the head by the hip of one of his own teammates. As Carroll and Rosner note, after the hit, Bradley slowly got back to his feet, walked only a few steps, and collapsed in front of over 60,000 fans in attendance. Although it may have been nearly impossible for the NFL to prevent this incident, it was the Eagle’s “medical staff‟ feeble response to the situation that portrayed the need for further concussion reform in the NFL.
Only a few minutes after the hit, the team doctors had cleared the, “clearly concussed player”, to return to the field. Another man named Kevin Turner a retired NFL fullback who attained the nickname “The Collision Expert.” He got this name from scratches on his helmet after a game. Since retiring from the league in 1999 Turner has developed a severe mental problem similar to ALS.
Ever since the true dangers of head blows have been uncovered, one might suspect that leagues like the NFL have acknowledged the dangers of concussions. As of late 2007, the NFL denied the string correlation of higher rates of brain disease with the league’s retirees. Clearly the NFL has chosen to be ignorant by choice, to the research being done warring the leagues of the risk its players face.
Therefore that’s the symptoms and treatment for a concussion also how the NFL profits off the player’s injuries and what head to head contact does to people. What will people do to help stop concussions? Something all people can do is raise awareness to friends and family about what concussions can do to people. Think about this nearly 133,000 concussions happen a day with getting unnoticed. Remember concussions are not an injury to take lightly and can ruin a person’s life, future if not taken care of correctly.
Recreational athletes, competitive athletes, high school athletes, college athletes, and professional athletes all have one thing in common: the risk of a concussion. It’s impossible to go a season without one athlete from a team receiving a concussion. The more that these concussions are studied, the more we learn about them, such as their detrimental effects on athletes.
Because of the risk of health issues and death that come with concussions, doctors, coaches, athletic trainers, and lawmakers are stepping in to protect athletes of all levels from receiving concussions. Concussions occur time after time throughout different sporting events and many are familiar with the word concussion, but what really is a concussion?
Concussions can truly mess with an athlete’s brain and can give him or her lifelong troubles. Many athletes of all ages and levels have had concussions that have affected their lives in unbelievable ways. Kevin Turner, a former professional football player in the National Football League, can certainly attest to this. Turner spent eight years playing professional football and while playing, acquired the title “Collision Expert”.
Many called him this because of the countless deep notches he would receive in his football helmet during games. Since receiving the title of “Collision Expert”, Turner has retired from the NFL and has had to deal with the effects that have come along with those many notches in his helmet. Recently, Turner has been diagnosed with a form of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Scientists have studied Turner’s case and from research, they believe that his form of the disease is related to the many concussions and hard hits he received during his career in the NFL. Now, Turner has a difficult time doing simple tasks as his disease deteriorates his memory and health day by day.
Turner has difficulty opening cereal boxes and buttoning shirts and even requires the help of his wife and daughter to help him get ready in the morning (Bartholet). Similarly to Kevin Turner’s case, Briana Binkowski, a 16-year-old high school basketball player also knows how concussions can affect an individual’s life. Briana was playing in a basketball game…
A concussion is a form of a traumatic brain injury that is considered to be of a mild form. Traumatic brain injuries are forms of sudden injuries on the head that penetrates and cause damage to the brain. This paper seeks to discuss concussions and physical activities. The paper will look into the origin of concussions, their symptoms, and treatment, physical aspects as well as its psychological aspects.
History of Concussions
A concussion is an element of traumatic brain injury and has been in existence for a long time. Reference to traumatic brain injury is made to periods of as early as the nineteenth century. Brain injuries have been identified and medical measures developed to help people who incur such injuries.
Knowledge about traumatic brain injury has been in development since the nineteenth century when there were increased cases of injuries that were associated with the brain. Measures such as pathophysiology have been developed and were being offered to those who suffered from such injuries. Developments of antiseptics that penetrated into the brain were the only available remedy for such injuries (David et al. 1).
Causes of concussion
Injuries caused to the brain occur following a violent impact that “causes the brain to collide with the inside of the skull” (Traumatic 1) which results in disruptions in the operations of the brain (Traumatic 1). Major identified causes of concussion include accidents, falls, and sports activities that involve violent physical impacts among players such as football, rugby among others (Traumatic 1).
Another cause of traumatic brain injury is motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle accidents result in sudden motions and impacts that can cause brain injuries. During an accident, a person’s head can be “stricken, suddenly jerked, or penetrated by a foreign object” (Brain 1).
If such effects pass to the brain, then a traumatic brain injury may occur. The injury may be mild or severe depending on the degree of fatality of the accident. Mild injuries may be temporary with inflicted short time unconsciousness while a severe traumatic brain injury causes prolonged and more extreme effects on the injured person.
Motor vehicle accidents cause a significantly large percentage of total traumatic brain injuries recorded. A research conducted by Atlanta Nation Center for injury prevention and control conducted in the year 2006 indicated that at least twenty percent of the recorded traumatic brain injuries were due to motor vehicle accidents. In the research, over a million cases of traumatic injuries were realized to have been reported in America out of which almost three hundred thousand were caused by motor vehicle accidents.
Brain injuries encountered in these accidents constituted the most severe category of traumatic brain injuries. This can be attributed to the fact that most of these accidents lead to high-level impacts that exert a lot of physical pressure on the skull and thus the brain (Brain 1).
The effect of the motor vehicle accidents that leads to traumatic brain injuries results from the biological properties of the brain that demands coordination among its cells. One of the essential elements of this coordination is the nerve system. In an event of an accident, this system may be strained due to pressure from sudden movement of the head or even collision of the head with objects in the vehicle or outside the vehicle in the process of the accident.
The brain then loses coordination resulting in the injury. Another significant cause of traumatic brain injuries is falls. Though its effects are occasionally less severe, falls cause more cases of traumatic brain injuries as compared to motor vehicle accidents. While motor vehicle accidents cause about twenty percent of brain injuries in America, falls cause close to thirty percent.
Falls can occur when a person slips or flips from a high level off the ground. It can also occur as a result of a violent encounter between people in a fight or in social activities such as games. Falls account for a higher percentage of the injuries because they can occur even in domestic environments in the form of minor accidents. The extent of a brain injury as a result of a fall also varies depending on the nature of the falls. Injuries due to falls are, however, considered to be milder than those due to motor vehicle accidents (Brain 1).
Diagnosis and treatment of concussion
Diagnosis of concussion and traumatic brain injuries at large is accounted for if its symptoms are significantly realized in a patient. Some of the symptoms of brain injuries are similar to those of other complications and thus care should be taken before diagnosis to avoid confusing brain damage with other medical complications. One of the key characteristics of traumatic brain injury is the “confusion and disorientation” of the victim (CDC 8). Unconsciousness that lasts for a long period of time is a feature that is associated with concussions.
The interference of the nerve systems in the brain causes lapses that send the victim into long durations of unconsciousness that can last to about half an hour. Higher susceptibility to coma is also an indicator that can lead to concussion being considered. Though all states of coma are not indicators of the brain damage, higher scales, normally rated at thirteen and above, have been associated with traumatic brain injury.
Experiences such as “amnesia and neurological problems” (CDC 8) also point to the possibility of brain injury (CDC 8). Other symptoms such as “headaches, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, seizures” (CDC 8) together with changes in a person’s behavior such as “irritability, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance” (CDC 8) among other characteristic symptoms are indicators of the presence of concussion (CDC 8).
Care should however be taken before conclusive diagnosis into traumatic brain injury is pronounced because most of these symptoms are, independently or in some cases jointly, experienced in other complications (CDC 8).
Developments have not yet been made into a specific treatment of concussions. Damages caused by a head injury to people vary to a great extent and a range of care is therefore necessary for the victims subject to specific brain damages. With no availability of treatment, victims are left to the possibility of recovery if their injuries do not cause death. Mild injuries are recognized to respond to recovery care and this has led to a large percentage of victims regaining their complete health after suffering mild concussions.
It has been established that more than half of victims of mild to moderate concussions recover under counseling on how to deal with the injuries. Medical services are however available for controlling and treating other aspects of external injuries suffered in order to minimize brain injuries. Measures of preventing further damage to the brain such as treating the injured part of the head are normally undertaken to control the extent of brain injury (National Institute 1).
Medical care that is available to victims of concussions is therefore control measure to help in reducing the degree of damage as well as associated impacts of the injury (National Institute 1). Preventive measures are therefore the only sure alternative for controlling traumatic brain injury.
Taking precautions to avoid or reduce accidents as well as their impacts is an effective measure in controlling concussions (CDC 1). In an event of a mild case of concussion leading to “bad headache, a feeling of being confused (dazed), or unconsciousness” (New York Times 1), a patient is supposed to be examined by a medical practitioner who can then determine when the patient can return to sports or any other exposure to causes of concussion (New York Times 1).
Physical Aspects of Concussion
Aspects of concussion can be discussed from two perspectives: its physical perspectives and psychological perspectives. Physical aspects are those elements that are related to the body structure and not to the mental capacity. Concussion, in its occurrence, exhibits a lot of features that are related to the physical properties of the body. The causes of concussion are, for example, entirely physical. It has been established that brain injuries are caused by a physical mechanism in which the brain encounters a bombardment with the skull.
That movement of the brain relative to the skull, which results in the collision, is a purely physical process. Contrary to biological locomotive processes like involuntary muscular movements such as that encountered in inhalation and exhalation, the brain and skull movement that leads to the injury is an externally instigated mechanism.
From the cause of the injury that could be a collision between players in a game, falls, or even involved in an accident, the bombardment of the head with an object or a sudden movement of the head that leads to disturbance remains to be a physical process. The effect of these disturbances is equally transmitted into the brain in a physical manner. The cause of concussion is therefore an entirely physical process (Traumatic 1).
A concussion is also characterized by quite a number of physical impacts on its victims. A person who suffers from a concussion is, for example, identifiable with a problem of slow response during conversations as well as comprehension and response to directives given to the victim. This is a change that is realized after someone has suffered from a concussion. The change in response is normally significant and can be realized as the victim of concussion will take a longer time than previously or normally taken.
The same lapse in response to directives will be realized in these victims as they tend to take a longer time to coordinate messages being passed to them before they can respond. A footballer or any other player who plays after suffering from concussion, and prior to recovery, might for example delay in response, fail to take a timely play thereby giving opponents an attacking advantage (Medicine 1).
Poor concentration has also been an identifiable factor in victims of concussion. A person who suffers from mild brain injury shows some tendencies of being diverted from subject objectives at particular times. Cases of a person failing to identify an occurrence like speech directed to him or her have been common with victims of concussion.
Characteristics of absent-mindedness and application of a lot of strain as the victim try to engage in interactions are reported. These effects caused by inefficient coordination of activities of the brain are as a result of the damage that the brain suffers during the impacts that lead to the concussion.
A victim of concussion may also experience a change in his or her speech which may be significantly different from how the person communicated before suffering from brain injury. A characteristically slower speech is normally associated with a concussion: “emotional liability and personality changes” (Medicine 1) are also some of the physical aspects that are associated with concussion (Medicine 1). Headaches and nausea have similarly been reported among victims of minor traumatic brain injuries (IOL 1).
The injury to the brain which has been medically identified to be functional rather than being on the brain structure is reported to have impacts on the head in the form of headaches. Feelings of discomfort in the stomach have also been reflected by people who suffer from brain injuries (Larkin 1).
Physical aspects of concussion are as well realized in its prevention measures. Being a physical process in terms of how it is acquired, measures of controlling or eliminating concussion primarily depends on physical strategies. Steps such as educating sportsmen and women on how best to avoid concussions are an important component of controlling the types of injuries such as those caused in sports. Sufficient care being taken can prevent, to a great extent, violent collisions in some sports.
This can specifically be helpful in sports such as football and hokey in which uttermost care can highly prevent injuries obtained through rough tackles from opponent players or instruments used in the games. Taking care, for instance, by avoiding collisions of heads or hitting of opponents’ heads can also help in controlling concussions. Provisions of protective devices to players while inside the pitch can also help in reducing the effects of impacts during games (Hagemann 1).
When the intensity of impacts of collisions is reduced, the effect that is transmitted into the head is also controlled hence reducing the chances of a player being injured in the head. Such protective devices also reduce the extent to which injuries can be suffered by a player.
The development of techniques used in sports can also play a significant role in controlling the number and frequency of brain injuries encountered in sports. Initiatives by coaches and trainers to impact players with newly developed techniques that are safe are another solution to the danger that has been facing participants in sports.
An initiative to reduce these injuries together with its supervision and management has equally been identified as a step towards prevention and reduction of the number of reported cases of concussion. Physical measures, if effectively put into consideration and subsequently implemented can play a very crucial role in controlling concussion as well as other traumatic brain injuries (Powel 1).
The process of treating or dealing with a concussion has also been given a physical approach. Measures that include the complete rest of the victim by avoiding any source of a significant distraction or strain are recognized to help patients in the process of healing after suffering from a head injury.
Refraining victims from exposing themselves to activities that can cause head injuries is also another measure used to ensure an uninterrupted healing process. Legislations have even been considered to restrict sportsmen and women who suffer from traumatic brain injuries to only return to participation in sports subject to approval by a certified health practitioner. In general, the concussion has a significant physical aspect in its cause, symptoms, prevention as well as its treatment (Sports 1).
Psychological aspects of concussion
Psychology has been developed and integrated into sports to help in the development of a player’s participation in any given professional sport. In Canada for example, the acculturation of psychology in sports has been recognized and even made to be part of “Kinesiology and physical education programs” (McGill 1).
Involvement of psychology in sports has been adopted to help players “understand psychological and social factors on an individual’s behavioral outcomes” (McGill 1) as well as to “understand how participation in sports and exercise influence psychological and social developments, health and well being” (McGill 1).
There should be an integration of psychology in sports (McGill 1). It has been established and agreed upon among psychologists that knowledge and skills that individuals possess play a significant role in how they respond to issues as well as how they succeed in handling issues.
Impacting players with information on how they can solve, handle or even cope up with straining issues that face them in their sporting careers will, therefore, play a crucial role in how they can deal with setbacks that include injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (Traumatic 1).
There being no established or specific cure for concussion, a victim relies on his or her ability to have patience with the recovery process as well as being psychologically prepared to deal with any impact that concussion may cause. A psychologically informed and a prepared person will, for example, be calm and wait for a full recovery process before any exposure to a possible threat of an injury.
Psychological preparedness can also help an individual in copping up with disabilities that can be caused by a concussion. Cases of psychological immaturity can lead to players losing hope in life if they are barred from playing when they have undergone concussions. Psychology, therefore, plays an important role in the lives of players especially in cases where the players are victims of concussions (Barker 1).
Once an athlete is injured and diagnosed with a concussion, the first step is the elimination of the player from sports. Even though the withdrawal of a player from participation in sports is on medical grounds to offer the player time for recovery, the victims normally suffer from isolation from their respective teams (Sports 1). A person who is, for example, hospitalized or put under rehabilitation facilities will most likely be isolated from teammates and friends who would at the same time be engaged in their daily lives’ activities.
This isolation has an impact on psychologically which will likely have a torturing effect on the patient. Some of the symptoms of concussions are also regarded to be psychological. Reactions by a victim of concussion such as “anger, denial, depression, distress, shock and guilt” (Bloom et al. 1) are psychological. Concussion, therefore, induces psychological reactions to its victims just as it does in inducing physical reactions (Bloom et al. 1).
The effects of players’ psychological attitudes again play an important element in the overall health of a player who has suffered from a concussion. A player who is only focused on returning to the field would for example lie that symptoms of concussion have disappeared when the player is actually not yet recovered. This mostly occurs if a player is not psychologically mature enough to accept the injury and take enough rest to recovery (Kontos et al. 225).
Following the psychological aspects of concussion, a practitioner faced with a challenge of an athlete who wants to engage in physical activity prior to recovery should refer the athlete for psychological counseling to help the athlete understand the situation and dangers involved.
Concussion is a form of a minor traumatic brain injury. Its cause is basically physical though its symptoms and impacts together with its control exhibit both physical and psychological factors. It is advisable that concussions are avoided at all costs but in case they are incurred then it is very significant that enough rest is observed before one return to active sports.