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The Dangers of Concussions

In recent years, the dangers of unrecognized concussions have been the focus of much media attention. Recent deaths among former professional athletes have called into question whether the current rules and regulation in professional sports are enough to protect people from serious injury. Both the National Hockey League and the National Football League have adopted new rules in an attempt to make playing their sports safer.

The danger does not only apply to professional athletes, however. Children playing on a playground, drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and others are also at risk for concussions.

What is a concussion?

Concussions are the most common type of mild traumatic brain injury, and the terms may be used interchangeably.  A concussion affects normal brain function, and can occur as the result of a fall or blow to the head that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

Children and Concussions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, school age children are among the groups at greatest risk for concussion. Concussions can occur from a fall on a playground, hitting a head on a desk, falling down stairs, or any other number of activities that could result in a child or adolescent hitting his head.

The most at risk time for children to suffer from a concussion is during PE class, recess, or during school-sponsored sports programs.

In addition, because the symptoms of a concussion do not always present immediately, a child may receive a concussion at school and not show symptoms until her or she is at home, or vice versa. Because younger developing brains can be more seriously affected by concussions, it is important for adults to be able to recognize the symptoms and know when to contact a healthcare professional.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

If you or someone you know has hit their end or been involved in an accident, it is possible that he or she has sustained a concussion. The following table details common signs and symptoms that are associated with concussion:

  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Sleeping more than normal
  • Feeling “foggy”
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Problems with memory
  • Nervousness
  • Changes in personality
  • Problems with balance
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Being disoriented