Tucker Center Newsletter - 2011 Spring
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Did You Know?
The Sad-but-True Facts about Concussions
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a concussion is a traumatic brain injury. Concussions are especially prevalent in organized, competitive sports where more than 1.6 million concussions occur each year in the United States alone. Why are sports such a breeding ground for concussions? Because a concussion is a brain injury caused by direct or transferred impact forces to the head following intentional or unintentional collisions. The consequences of such collisions can be dramatic and dangerous—athletes frequently report both physical and cognitive symptoms such as severe and prolonged headaches, confusion, nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light and noise, inability to think and concentrate, and short- and long-term memory loss.
Most concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness, which mistakenly results in premature return to play or not seeking medical treatment. For children and youth whose brains are still developing, appropriate treatment of concussion is even more important. Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death in the most extreme cases. It is important to note that even when an athlete feels symptom-free, his or her brain may still be healing and recovering. The bottom line is that allowing an athlete to get back on the field should always be the decision of a health care professional.
All stakeholders in sports need to learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion, as well as what to do if one occurs. The CDC Heads Up: Concussion in Sports program and resources provide parents, coaches, and players with easy online access to excellent educational materials about concussion signs, symptoms, and care. To learn more, see the CDC's Web page, Injury Prevention & Control: Traumatic Brain Injury.