Many people have suffered a concussion, which is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The brain is protected by the skull against impacts – but when the head is jarred significantly or hits against something with great force, the brain jostles inside of the skull. This causes trauma to the brain.
When the brain suffers an impact against the inside of the skull, the brain is affected in many ways. It can cause bruising and swelling of the brain, tearing of blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. All of these can cause changes in the brain.
Even though many concussions are mild, the repercussions can be lethal if left unchecked or untreated by trained medical staff.
Athletes Who Suffered a Concussion in the Past
Medical scientists were not previously aware of the link between concussions and brain damage, so players often continued to play right after suffering a concussion. Athletes nowadays have the benefit of space-age polymers and specially cushioned helmets, so these players endure fewer concussions than did athletes in past decades.
A brain study conducted on athletes from 30 years ago found that a large percentage of them had symptoms similar to those of early Parkinson’s disease. Plus, these former athletes exhibited memory problems and attention issues that involve the same portion of the brain that is affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Precautions to Athletes
We now know that any athlete who suffers a concussion should not return to play until all of the effects have dissipated. Most symptoms do go away after a few days, but the effects of a single concussion can linger on for years.
It is best to have a doctor’s evaluation and go-ahead to continue playing the sport. If the symptoms extend past a day or two, it is imperative to be examined by a medical professional who is experienced in evaluating the effects of concussions.
These types of brain injuries can often lead to symptoms like drowsiness or confusion. Symptoms can develop immediately following the accident or days later, depending on the scale of the trauma.
If the injury has caused bleeding in or around the brain, it is a medical emergency and must be treated. After experiencing a traumatic blow to the head of any kind, it is essential to be evaluated by a professional; do not try to make the determination on your own. It is better to “overreact” than to suffer brain damage or worse.
Neurosurgeons in Colorado
If you or a family member is involved in any full-contact sports like rugby, hockey, or football, and they experience a blow to the head, get them medical attention promptly. There is no danger in being cautious – there is a danger, however, in not taking concussions seriously.
Call us at (303) 790-1800 or request a consultation online to have our neurosurgeons evaluate whether you have a traumatic brain injury. Our medical team at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery has three convenient locations in Colorado, and we look forward to serving you.