Concussions are serious business. In the old days a player might come walking off the field “seeing stars” or walking like they were drunk after a collision or tackle and they would get a sip of water, rest a few minutes on the bench and then we sent them back out in the game. As our understanding of concussion has expanded, our treatment has also evolved. We now recognize a concussion is a “mild traumatic brain injury.” Although concussions by definition do not involve brain bleeds or the like, they can cause major dysfunction in the central nervous system.

A concussion is basically an injury to the brain caused by a fall, jarring, shearing or other sudden movement to the head. The brain is soft and pliable, but it is inside of a hard casing called your cranium or skull. When you stop suddenly whether because you fall off a playground slide or get hit by a hefty linebacker, your soft brain rattles around inside your bony skull and all the millions of neurons that interconnect can get jostled to the point that they do not function appropriately. That is the basics of a concussion. All those jostled neurons can’t quite do their jobs as well as they could before and you suffer the consequences. We know that the “jostling” of your brain causes problems at the cellular level. The neurons can’t maintain their balance of various electrolytes and can’t use sugar or glucose optimally. Basically though, it is enough for you to know they can’t function at 100%.

Frequent symptoms after a concussion include headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, difficulties with sleep, mood swings, poor attention, problems with balance and a host of other problems. If you think you have had a concussion, we recommend you get a thorough neurologic evaluation by a health care provider specialized in dealing with concussions. They will be able to guide you on when it is safe to return to sport, academics or work. Be patient, learn your limits and stay positive.

To learn more about concussions or to schedule a consultation, contact us.