What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that occurs when your brain is shaken inside your skull. This incident can potentially damage the blood vessels in your brain or injure its tissue.
It’s called an ‘invisible injury’ because a concussion’s symptoms aren’t always easy to recognize and even MRI imaging isn’t perfect at identifying one. But when this kind of brain trauma happens, the effects are all too real.
All it takes is a hard tumble on the basketball court or a blow to your head or body. Yes, that’s right — you don’t necessarily have to hit your head. For example, when your body stops suddenly due to a hard tackle or a strong pick, it can cause whiplash and a concussion.
Concussions and sports: When you need to step back
Some people think concussions only happen if you black out. But nine out of ten concussions don’t make you lose consciousness, and some only cause a brief interruption in mental alertness. Studies find that most high school and college athletes don’t report concussions while playing football. They might not realize that a concussion can happen even if you don’t black out.
In the past, athletes in many sports returned to play too soon after a concussion, sometimes even on the same day. But sports and health organizations are starting to take these injuries much more seriously. Trainers, health care professionals and athletes themselves are watching more closely for concussions and taking a more conservative approach to rehabilitation and return to play. This is an important change for the health of athletes everywhere.
We’ll cover some steps you can take to reduce your chances of suffering long term effects after a hard hit.
Dealing with a Concussion
If you’ve had a concussion, the first 10 days are crucial. During this time you are at the greatest risk for another concussion. Not only that, your risk of getting another concussion rises every time you have one. If you can protect yourself in those first few days, you’ll have much better odds of a full recovery.