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Concussion is the most common form of brain injury and must be taken seriously. A concussion can be caused by a direct blow to the head but can also occur when a person takes a hard knock to another part of the body, resulting in a rapid movement of the head, causing a disturbance of brain function. The good news is that concussion is a manageable injury. Once a concussion is managed effectively from the time it occurs, it should lead to the avoidance of tragic injuries.

Common symptoms of a concussion:

  • headache or pressure
  • dizziness
  • memory disturbance
  • balance problems
  • double or blurry vision
  • sensitivity to light or noise
  • feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • confusion
  • you don’t ‘feel right’ or you are ‘feeling down’

Observation

Most people with a concussion will recover quickly and fully. However, for some people signs and symptoms of concussion can last for days, weeks or longer. Continued observation is important. In all cases of suspected concussion, we recommend referral to a medical or healthcare professional for guidance.

Treatment

Rest is the cornerstone of concussion treatment. Complete rest for a minimum of 24 hours is recommended following a hit to the head. Unlike a broken arm, or other injuries that you can feel with your hands or see on an X-ray, you can’t see a concussion. It is a disruption of how the brain works. It is not a bruise to the brain, which is why brain CAT scans and MRIs appear normal with most concussions. An injury that cannot be seen must be monitored with a gradual return to normal activity.

After concussion:

  • No TV
  • No Computers
  • No Bright Lights
  • No Reading
  • No Texting
  • No Radio
  • No Loud Noise
  • No Physical Exercise
  • No Alcohol
  • No Driving
  • No Exertion of any Kind

Post-concussion syndrome

If a player returns to the field with concussion, they put themselves at risk of suffering post-concussion syndrome resulting in a long-term endurance of a collection of concussion symptoms including: headaches, depression, personality change, memory and concentration problems, sleep disturbance and mood swings. Symptoms usually clear up within three months after the initial head injury. The Graduated Return to Play (GRTP) program is a progressive exercise program that introduces a player back to the field of play in a safe 6 stage process. Download our guidelines here.

 

Second impact syndrome

Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) is a rare condition characterized by an athlete sustaining a second concussion before the symptoms of the first concussion have resolved. This can be particularly dangerous if hits to the head are experienced within a short period of time. Receiving another blow to the head can result in more severe symptoms which may last longer. SIS can be very serious and result in seizures, long-term memory loss, and lifetime disabilities. Symptoms progress rather rapidly and include the appearance of dilated pupils, loss of eye movement, unconsciousness, and in some cases fatality.

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