Wellness Center: On concussions

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By Health Services

More than one million traumatic brain injuries occur annually in the U.S. Head injuries occur in all age groups, amongst athletes and non-athletes, alike. Head trauma can result from a fall, motor vehicle accident, domestic assault, sports trauma or from recreational activities such as biking, skateboarding, skiing or playing outdoors.

The brain is your body’s command center, and despite the hard skull designed to protect your soft, sensitive tissues, a blow to the head can result in injury caused by the brain moving around inside the skull. According to the National Instituate of health, a concussion isn’t visible from the outside, and you can’t see it with standard imaging tools like MRI or CAT scans. Common symptoms can include headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and memory problems. Loss of consciousness only occurs in about one in 10 concussions. A person that has suffered a concussion may act clumsy or move in an awkward way. They may have trouble answering basic questions or responding to simple commands.

Although concussions are considered to be a mild brain injury, they need to be taken seriously. They shouldn’t be treated as simple traumas that resolve quickly. If you suspect that someone has a concussion, it is important for that person to stop whatever activity he or she is engaged in; for example, if someone may have a concussion he or she should not finish the final minutes of a game. A person’s brain dysfunction might not only cloud his or her thinking but could also slow reaction time and affect balance, making him or her more susceptible to further injury. Athletes need to stop their activities and seek evaluation by a health-care provider if they exhibit the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

Treatment for concussions is “brain rest” to allow time to heal. This involves limiting TV and computer screen time as well as video games and reading for pleasure. Further evaluation and treatment can be obtained locally through Ellis Medicine’s Concussion Management Program.

For more information, contact the Wicker Wellness Center. Prevention is our best recommendation, overall; wearing a helmet for activities such as biking, skateboarding and skiing can help prevent head trauma. If you do suffer a head injury, get checked out.

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