BRAIN INJURY

TRAUMATIC

Sports-Related Brain Injury is very common.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now estimates that between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States every year.

GENERAL CONCUSSION INFORMATION

The American Academy of Neurology defines cerebral concussion as an altered mental state that may or may not include loss of consciousness which occurs as a result of head trauma. 

Concussion is also known as “mild” traumatic brain injury (MTBI). The vast majority of these injuries are classified as “mild,” yet many can have serious and permanent consequences.

The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine defines traumatic brain injury (TBI) as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Cause by an external force may include any of the following events:

  • The head being struck by an object

  • The head striking an object

  • The brain undergoing an acceleration/deceleration movement without direct external trauma to the head

  • A foreign body penetrating the brain

  • Forces generated from events such as a blast or explosion

  • Or other forces yet to be defined

The appropriate steps involve knowing the signs and symptoms of concussion, seeking medical attention and not returning to play with a known or suspected concussion until evaluated and given permission by a knowledgable healthcare professional.

The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine defines “mild traumatic brain injury” as being non-coma type injuries and as being potentially serious and permanent. The ACRM’s definition establishes that a permanent brain injury can result if any of the following four conditions occur as a result of trauma or accident:

  1. Any period of loss of consciousness

  2. Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the accident (amnesia)

  3. Any alteration in mental state at the time of the accident (disorientation or confusion)

  4. Focal neurological deficits that may or may not be transient

More specific symptoms of concussion:

Early 

(minutes and hours after impact)

  • Vacant stare

  • Delayed motor and verbal responses (slow to answer questions or follow instruction)

  • Confusion and inability to focus attention

  • Disorientation

  • Slurred or incoherent speech

  • Stumbling or inability to walk a straight line

  • Headache

  • Dizziness or vertigo

  • Lack of awareness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Any period of loss of consciousness, coma, or unresponsiveness

Late

(days to weeks after impact) 

  • Persistent low grade headache

  • Light-headedness

  • Poor attention and concentration

  • Lack of awareness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Memory dysfunction

  • Easy fatigability

  • Irritability and low frustration tolerance

  • Distraught, crying for no apparent reason, emotions seem out of proportion to circumstances

  • Memory deficits

  • Intolerance of bright lights or

  • Difficulty focusing vision

  • Intolerance of loud noises, ringing in the ears

  • Anxiety and/or depressed mood

  • Sleep disturbance​

SPORTS CONCUSSION INFORMATION

Sports-related concussions are very common. In fact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year.

 

Repeated concussions among athletes, amateur as well as professional, are also tragically common. Repeated concussions can cause cumulative brain injury in a person injured over months or years.

 

The use of a grading scale to determine the severity of a concussion enables the athlete, teammates, coaches, and parents to take appropriate steps when a concussion injury occurs. The appropriate steps involve knowing the signs and symptoms of concussion, seeking medical attention and not returning to play with a known or suspected concussion until evaluated and given permission by a knowledgable healthcare professional.

Grading Scale for Sports Medicine in determining the severity of a concussion:

GRADE 1

  1. Transient confusion

  2. No loss of consciousness

  3. Concussion symptoms or mental status abnormalities on examination resolve in less than 15 minutes

Grade 1 concussion is the most common yet the most difficult form to recognize. The athlete is not rendered unconscious and suffers only momentary confusion.

GRADE 2

  1. Transient confusion

  2. No loss of consciousness

  3. Concussion symptoms or mental status abnormalities on examination last longer than 15 minutes

With Grade 2 concussion, the athlete is not rendered unconscious but experiences symptoms or exhibits signs of concussion or mental status abnormalities on examination that last longer than 15 minutes. Any Grade 2 symptoms lasting longer than 1 hour warrant medical observation.

GRADE 3

  1. Any loss of consciousness either brief (seconds) or prolonged (minutes)

Grade 3 concussion is usually easy to recognize—the athlete is unconscious for any period of time and warrants medical attention.

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Please note: The information on this website is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should consult your health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.