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Head Trauma - Concussions Can be Serious

Updated on May 6, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle are all important.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are very serious, are something we are hearing about too frequently in the news lately. They are primarily connected to sports, particularly football. The National Football League has cracked down on hits to the head to help protect the players from the long term effects of brain injuries.

These injuries are classified as mild if there is a loss of consciousness, confusion or disorientation that lasts less than thirty minutes. While a MRI may be normal, the injured person often has headaches, memory problems, difficulty thinking, mood swings, attention deficit and frustration. These symptoms certainly do not seem mild to the injured party.

Consider High School Players

It is not just the pros that need to be concerned, as there are more injuries in college and high school athletes as well. You can bump your head playing any sport, or fall and still suffer the consequences of the trauma.

The National Conference on Concussion in Sports divides concussion into simple and complex types. Simple concussions resolve and the patient is functional within 7-10 days. A complex concussion affects the thought processes and more are common in patients with repeated concussion. We have also seen this problem within the boxing profession.

Protective Football Helmet for Child

Source

Education for Athletes and Coaches

There is mandatory education required for school athletes and coaches now. The reporting of injuries has improved as people become more knowledgeable about the symptoms of a concussion.

Contrary to popular belief, a concussion is not a bruise to the brain caused by hitting a hard surface. Swelling and bleeding are not typically seen on medical scans. The injury actually occurs when the head is either accelerated rapidly, then suddenly stopped, or if it is spun rapidly.

The violent shaking of the brain causes the brain cells to begin firing all its neurotransmitters at once in an unhealthy cascade, which floods the brain with chemicals. It will deaden certain receptors linked to learning and memory

Concussion - Evaluation after head injury during the game

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Sometimes the symptoms of a brain concussion are subtle and may not be readily apparent. The symptoms can last for an extended period of time, days, weeks or even longer.

The two most common symptoms are confusion and amnesia, which may not be preceded by a period of unconsciousness but almost always causes a loss of memory of the trauma causing the concussion.

Concussion Signs and Symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Headache
  • Mild Dizziness to starry vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue
  • Other symptoms that may occur at a later time frame include:
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Depression

Other symptoms that may occur at a later time frame include:

  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • May develop symptoms similar to Parkinson's Disease

Kids Football

Source

Concussion Medical Advice

The majority of concussions repair on their own, but some blows to the head can cause more serious injuries. Per Mayo Clinic, it is important to seek medical advice if you have the following symptoms:

  • Prolonged headache or dizziness
  • Vision or eye disturbances, including pupils that are bigger than normal (dilated pupils) or pupils of unequal sizes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Impaired balance
  • Prolonged memory loss
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Loss of smell or taste

Diagram of Head Concussion Effects

source medicinenet
source medicinenet

Children Concussions

Parents are becoming more concerned about their children playing football due to these concussions. A new study has shown that less than 20 percent of parents are now allowing their children to play football.

While most falls with young children are usually just scalp injuries which may bleed profusely but they are not serious. Head concussions for children are serious when they occur as their brain is still more delicate. The other problem is they are often too young to communicate their symptoms.

The symptoms to look for are:

  • Listlessness, tiring more easily
  • Irritability, crankiness
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Loss of interest in favorite toys
  • Loss of balance, unsteady gait when walking

Signs that a child needs medical attention:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Headache that gets worse over time
  • Changes in your child’s behavior, including irritability or difficulty walking
  • Changes in your child’s physical coordination, including stumbling or clumsiness

Child Abuse Head Injuries

Abusive head trauma in babies is also caused by someone shaking the baby vigorously out of anger, blows to the head, dropping or throwing the child, and it is the leading cause of death in the US in child abuse cases. They are usually infants 3-8 months, although it is seen in children up to 4 years old.

When someone forcibly shakes a baby, the child’s head rotates about the neck uncontrollably because the infant’s neck muscles are not well developed at this time. The violent movement pitches the brain back and forth against the skull, sometimes rupturing blood vessels and nerves throughout the brain and tearing the brain tissue.

If the brain strikes against the skull, it causes bruising and bleeding. Hitting a wall or mattress makes the injury even more severe. It is fine to bounce a baby up and down on your knee, but shaking of any kind should be avoided.

Seeking Treatment for Head Traum

With an adult or child the doctor will do a physical and ask details of your symptoms and the trauma that caused the head injury. He will do a neurological exam. A cat scan (CT) is usually ordered as a precaution. You may be hospitalized overnight for observation.

Rest is the best recovery technique as healing takes time. Don’t take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications, as they can exacerbate bleeding, but Tylenol for pain is acceptable. If you have a head injury while playing a sport, don’t resume play too quickly. It is better to sit on the side lines and let a doctor determine if it is safe to resume play.

Cartoon Head Injury

source cartoonnet
source cartoonnet

Prevention Tips

  1. Wear a helmet for recreational activities.
  2. Always buckle your seat belt.
  3. Make you home as fall proof as possible.  Keep your home well lit, free of floor clutter, as falls around the house are the leading cause of head injuries for children and adults.
  4. Use caution around swimming areas.  Don’t dive into water less than 9’ deep.
  5. Wear sensible shoes.  If you are older it is better to wear thinner hard-soled shoes.

In Summary

It is important in sports that sportsman like conduct be adhered to so trauma injuries are prevented. If you suspect that what seemed like a minor fall now has some new symptoms, be sure to get medical treatment as soon as possible.

Trauma to the head causing a concussion can be serious and should be prevented at all times.

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    lisa, I hope you will not have any problems with the head bump. I appreciate your comments.

  • lisasuniquevoice profile image

    Lisa Brown 

    5 years ago from Michigan

    Pamela99,

    Thank you for writing this article. I hit my head on the door frame of a car and it still feels a little numb. After reading this I'll have it checked out.

    Lisa

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Support Med, Your comments are so true. Think you very much.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 

    7 years ago from Michigan

    Awesome hub! Will def. keep as a reference. Even with the skull there to help, we definitely have to be careful of brain injuries. v/r

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hello, Yes, it is very serious and can be life threatening. Thanks for your comment.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    7 years ago from London, UK

    It is very serious. I had a very heavy concussion when I was 10. Great hub.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Saddlerider, Since your survived all these dangerous head traumas one might say you led a charmed life. :} Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    Katiem, It is god info for everyone to know as you said we all deal with those big and little bumps. Thanks for the comments.

  • katiem2 profile image

    katiem2 

    7 years ago from I'm outta here

    Thanks Pamela, We all deal with those big and little bumps to the head that leave us wondering about concussions.

  • saddlerider1 profile image

    saddlerider1 

    7 years ago

    What a well researched hub. I had three head concussions when I was a boy. My seventh birthday I ran outside with a piece of my cake in my hands, running across the street I was struck by a car and that accident put me in the childrens hospital for a few weeks with a concussion.

    I can remember how nice the man was who ran me over, he and his wife smothered me with toys at the hospital:0)

    Another was falling from the attic of an outdoor stage to my head, again back to the childrens for observation and lastly playing football I took a hit to the head.

    I am lucky to still be here after all those injuries. I went on to play a lot of hockey, but most of my injuries were below the neck, dislocations and back injuries.

    Now entering my senior years, I am feeling a lot of those past joint injuries creeping up on me. Thanks for this wonderful share, I hope the people who read this will learn a lot more than they know now about head injury. Peace and hugs from the saddle

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Dusty, That is so true that there are other ways to get head injuries. Thanks for your comments.

    rpalulis, Glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comments.

    Audry, What a story! That kind of thing still probably happens too much. Thanks for your comments.

    Martie, I'm glad you learn some new things and I appreciate your comments.

    JY, Thanks from your comment.

    Darsky, It is so important for parents to understand the symptoms of head traumas. Thanks for your comment girlfriend.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 

    7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    A few days ago I was reading another hub about children and sports, and how it is sooooo important to the parents to have a sports star in their family. Sometimes I wish I would hit my head in just the right places to only to remember the good things LOL, seriously this hub is so important and a must read for all...protect your heads everyone, the sky is falling...love & peace, rate up darski

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 

    7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

    Good, informative article Pam.

  • MartieCoetser profile image

    Martie Coetser 

    7 years ago from South Africa

    Thanks for this important information, Pamela. I have to update my medical encyclopedia with this.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    7 years ago from Washington

    That's all so true, Pamela. When my son was in high school, his friend was hit in the head in a soccer game and he was out cold. I was running for the nearest house (it was before cells) to tell someone to call 911 and I shouted back to not let anyone move him....they did. They sat him up, let him walk around - at least they kept him out of the game. I was so furious when his dad came to get him - he was STILL dazed. Luckily the dad took him down to the local ER where my friend one of the docs who worked there, gave him a talking to unlike any other about how stupid everyone was for moving him! Good lord! I still think back on the 'what could have happened'. It was horrible!

  • rpalulis profile image

    rpalulis 

    7 years ago from NY

    Extremely informative and well researched hub on such an important topic. I have just learned a lot about Head Trauma - Concussions, Thanks.

  • 50 Caliber profile image

    50 Caliber 

    7 years ago from Arizona

    Pam some important stuff here voted it up. A person can catch the same from many sources the least not, explosions even at 1000 yards, most relative for industrial accidents right now in this country, 50

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Habee, Your comments are always great. Thanks.

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 

    7 years ago from Georgia

    Been there > done that > fall from horse. Me were purdy entellugint afor dat!

    Great info here, Pam!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Chris, I guess you were one of the lucky ones. Thanks for the comments.

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 

    7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    Jeeez.... when I think about all the head banging I did playing football... I coulda been Einstein. :-)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    K9Keystrokes, I'm sorry to hear about your brother. The brain is still such a mystery but it is important to recognize symptoms if you do have an injury. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 

    7 years ago from Northern, California

    I think you have created a wonderful amount of important information on Head Trauma. Knowing the signs and how to respond to them is of crucial importance.

    My brother suffers from a head injury that has brought with it a number of painful moments and events over the past 10 years or so. His injury caused a nerve bundle to knot together bringing with it the loss of some speech and memory. The brain is such a mystery in many ways, but the information you provide here may well help someone to take the proper actions should the worst happen!

    Thanks for writing on an important topic Pam. Up and Awesome.

    K9

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