A concussion is nothing to mess with. It’s a functional brain injury caused when the brain is jarred or shaken inside the skull after a forceful blow connects with the head, face, neck or body. If the brain is not given enough time to rest and recuperate the repercussions of such a brain trauma can be life-long.
All concussions are serious and most occur without loss of consciousness. Early recognition and proper response can help aid recovery and prevent further injury, or even death.
If You See Any of These Warning Signs…
- poor concentration
- memory disturbance
- foggy brain
- inappropriate anger, crying, or laughter
- feeling ‘dinged’ or ‘stunned’
- ringing in the ears
- feeling unsteady
- double vision
- seeing stars, flashing light, or other visual disturbances
- “not feeling right”
- Immediately remove the player from play and do not allow him/her to return to the activity.
- Do not leave the player alone – it is essential that symptoms be monitored.
- Take the athlete for a medical evaluation as soon as possible – do not let them get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
If the Athlete is Unconscious
- Call an ambulance immediately to have the athlete transported to the hospital.
- Do not move the athlete or remove athletic equipment as there may also be a cervical spine injury.
Symptoms often worsen during the first 24 to 36 hours and typically last for 7-10 days. However a concussion may take many weeks or months to heal if the concussion is severe or if the athlete has experienced previous concussions.
Rest is essential. Physical and cognitive activity can escalate the severity and duration of symptoms.
The severity of the symptoms will dictate if physical activity should be completely restricted (bed rest) or simply modified to light daily activities.
Activities that require mental concentration such as school, work, reading, texting, watching television, computer work and electronic games should be suspended until symptoms abate.
Did we mention that rest is the key to recovery? The injured person should refrain from daily activities, including work or school, until the symptoms have reduced significantly, at which point the activities should be introduced gradually. Recurring or new symptoms must not be ignored. These red flags are clear indications that the brain is not sufficiently healed and it is imperative that the injured person stop their activities and take more time to rest and recover.
Return to Play Protocol
Returning to normal activities, including sport participation, is a methodical step by step process (PDF file) that requires patience, attention, and caution. Each step must be be taken in order and the recovering athlete symptom free for a minimum of 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.
A Message from Serge Arsenault:
As coordinator of sports medicine for Université de Moncton and owner of Sportmed Physiotherapy, I believe that it is imperative that we provide our athletes with the best care available. While returning to play is relevant, it ranks a distant third to the lifelong health and education of our student-athletes. We must minimize the long term effects of injuries, especially concussions, and their potentially life changing repercussions.
Dr. Stephanie Melanson (Diploma of Sport Medicine) administers medical concussion assessments at our Sports Medicine Clinic. Under her guidance Sportmed’s health professionals provide the physiotherapy and kinesiology services that she deems necessary to facilitate the best possible outcome for those who suffering from this potentially incapacitating injury.
No referral necessary.