A few weeks ago I had the chance to talk in front of a few parents, student atheltes and basketball coaches at the Strathcona Community Centre about what concussions are and the impact it can have on an athlete's physical, emotional and psychological well being. What was surprising was that every single person in that room either has sustained a concussion themself or know of someone who has.
FACT: Concussions are more frequently sustained by children and youth.
With more money and research being poured into studying concussions, we are now learning the profound effects of this type of brain trauma on children and adults. With this new information, we are also better at recognizing and treating conccusions as well.
What Is A Concussion?
Here are some quick facts about concussions :
- Acute brain trauma caused by a direct blow to the head or any indirect force that causes the brain to rattle around in the skull
- Cannot see the effects on traditional imaging (ie. xrays, CT scans or MRIs)
- Don't need to lose consciousness to get a concussion
This awesome 5 minute video pretty much gives you a gist of what a concussion is
Do I Have a Concussion?
It may not always be apparent right away whether or not you've sustained a concussion, but knowing what to look out for may help you recognize a concussion. Recoginition is the first step in recovery.
Common Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion
- Seeing stars or flashes of light
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Very emotional (ie. sad or angry)
- Difficulty concentrating
Red flags (not limited to): Repeated vomitting, double vision, loss of consciousness. If you see any of these red flags, they are serious signs and symptoms and emergency personel must be contacted.
Return to Learn and Return to Play
The biggest take away from the presentation was how to get the student athletes back to school and playing sports in a safe manner. It is important to note with these protocols that you must complete the RETURN TO LEARN protocol first before you being the RETURN TO PLAY protocol. If you read through the protocols, you can see that rest is the best medicine in the first few stages of healing. It is important not to rush through each stage as that can slow your healing time and increase concussion type symptoms.
Return to Learn Protocol
Return to Play Protocol
What we know now about concussions compared to what I was taught in school 10 years ago has changed quite a bit. It is imperitive for players, coaches, parents and teachers to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and treat accordingly based off of the current research.
Online Concussion Awareness Training Tool
Big props to the Online Concussion Awareness Training Tool as they have done a spectacular job on educating parents, children, teachers, and health care professionals on the topic of concussions. I encourage everyone to spend 30 minutes to go through their learning modules and become certified!
Thanks for reading!
XOXO Jessie Wong , Physiotherapist