One thing that many sportspeople have in common is a fear of head injury which can lead to all sorts of health problems. The most common of these problems is a complex pathophysiological process that is known as concussion, which can cause several symptoms including, headaches, nausea, memory loss, depression, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, or a general lethargic feeling.
These symptoms often go away on their own after a short time though if they persist, medical advice should be sought. In football, a concussion is usually caused when players challenge for a ball that is in the air and miss-time their headers, resulting in a clash of heads; the condition can also occur indirectly from a body blow though this is much rarer.
Facts about the effects of concussion
The human brain is surrounded by cerebral fluid that prevents it from slamming into the skull every time the head moves or gets a minor knock. With a bump caused by more force such as a clash of heads, falling off a horse or crashing a car the brain may impact the inside of the skull and when it does, a concussion occurs.
Alternatively, the brain may be moved in more of twisting motion, which results in a rotational concussion; in both cases, neural pathways get damaged the brain.
Recent studies by neurologists have reviled that concussion caused by sporting accidents in high school children take longer to recover from than they do for college and professional athletes. The study also suggests that children might suffer from more severe symptoms and be at risk for greater neurological damage. As over half of high school athletes suffer from or have suffered from a concussion at some point, it is imperative that good treatment for a concussion is provided.
As it is a common ailment and in some cases can be dangerous, football clubs and other professional sporting bodies take great care to ensure their medical staff has the very best training to manage concussions and to help aid recovery time and minimize the effects of the symptoms.
If someone has had a concussion previously, the chances of a second occurrence are dramatically increased and it becomes around 1 – 2 times more likely. If someone has had two concussions, then getting another is 2 – 4 times more likely, and if they then suffered a third, the chances of a forth rise by around 3 – 9 times.
How to know when the concussion is gone
For those of us who do not have the benefit of highly skilled medical staff, it can be tricky knowing when it is ok to return to training and competing. While you can take this into your own hands, it can be a risk as not all the symptoms will be clearly apparent.
A good sporting medical institute or clinic can help, and for what is often very reasonable yearly fees you can be checked out by trained medical staff. They will offer computerized neuropsychological testing, vestibular balance testing, and a host of other procedures that will ensure the symptoms of concussion are fully cleared to determine when it is safe to return to your chosen field of sport.