Concussion And Head Injuries In Sports
In sports like rugby, soccer, hockey and even netball, head injuries leading to concussions are fairly common. Concussion is defined as a disruption of normal function and would normally resolve in 24 hours. They normally arise either with a clash of heads or when the head bounces off the ground.
As the brain is “floating” in the cerebral fluid within the skull, the sudden, quick movement of the head could cause the brain to move and come in contact with the skull. If the impact is hard, it may cause bruising of the brain, leading to a concussion.
Signs And Symptoms Of Concussion
Depending on the extent of the concussion, the signs and symptoms may vary.
In a mild concussion,
- No loss of consciousness
- Slight confusion (i.e. disorientated to either time, date, space, location)
- Inability to recall what just happened
- Report either ringing in ears or slightly hard of hearing
- Slight headache or nausea
- Pain over area of contact
In a moderate concussion,
- Loss of consciousness for less than 3mins
- Confusion (commonly unable to recall date and location)
- Inability to know what’s happening
- Inability to track movement
- Reports loud ringing in ear
- Delayed vomiting
- Moderate headache
- Pain over area of contact or even in other areas of the head not involved in contact
- Loss of balance
In severe concussion,
- Loss of consciousness for more than 3mins
- Confusion for more than 5mins.
- Loss of memory of events before incident
- Immediate vomiting, severe headache and ringing in ear
- Possible increase in heart rate and drop in blood pressure.
It is advised for anyone to observe for these symptoms for at least the first 24 hours following the incident. In certain cases, these signs and symptoms may arise up to 72 hours post-injury so close monitoring maybe required. If an athlete has 2-3 bouts of mild to moderate concussion in a season, they are normally advised to retire from the season and even possibly to retire completely if 2 bouts of severe concussion. There are times where these symptoms may persist for up to a year or more. In these cases, they are classified as having post-concussion syndrome.
Post-concussion syndrome would include symptoms like headache, disorientation, sensitivity to light and/or sound, difficulty with attention and memory, anxiety and in some cases, depression. These symptoms normally peak at about 4-6 weeks post-incident, and some even last for years.
Management Of Concussion
The best way to manage it is rest. Rest for about 1 week. If the athlete remains symptom free during that duration of rest, he/she would be allowed to return to sports. The return to sport has to be gradual and closely supervised by a physiotherapist or physician. However, the athlete must stay symptom free for a month before returning back to sports. This is if it is a repeated incident.
We’ll be covering the on-field management of concussion and head injuries in the next article, On-field management of Head Injuries and Concussion.
Related and Popular Articles
- Snapping Ankle - Physiotherapy
- Labour Epidural Cause Chronic Backache?
- The Best Exercises for Trochanteric Bursitis
- Posterior Pelvic Pain (Sacroiliac Joint Pain) in Pregnant Women
- How do I know if I have scoliosis?
- Diastasis Recti Abdominis - Conditions
- Cobb Angle and Scoliosis
- Maybe it isn't Plantar Fasciitis but Heel Fat Pad Syndrome
- What to do when your back hurts so much that you can't get out of bed?
- Multifidus - Smallest Yet Most Powerful Muscle
- Nerve Stretches
- Shoulder Pain - Frequently Asked Questions
- 'Clunking' Shoulders - Part I
- Waking up with neck pain? Find the right pillow.
- Not All Pain In the Back Is Back Pain - It Could Be Rib Pain
- MCL strain not getting better? Because it is Pes Ancerinus Tendinitis.
- Slipped Disc in Singapore - What to Do and Avoid
- Better to break a bone than to tear a ligament or tendon
- Knee Joint & Ankle Pain - Specialist Treatment in Singapore
- Acromion Clavicle Joint - Another source of shoulder pain
- Sway Back No More
- Knock Knees - Can I reverse it? (Part 1)
- Sway back posture: A leading poor posture type causing back pain
- Posterior Capsule stretches