Sports Related Concussions
A concussion is a brain injury that is defined as a complex pathophysiological process that affects the brain.
The adult brain is a three-pound organ that floats inside the skull. It is surrounded by cerebral spinal fluid, which acts as a shock absorber for minor impacts. When the brain moves rapidly inside the skull, a concussion has technically occurred.
A concussion can either be caused by a direct blow to the head, or an indirect blow to the body, resulting in neurological impairments.
Symptoms often fall into the following categories:
Physical (headaches, nausea)
Cognitive (difficulty with concentration or memory)
Emotional (irritability, sadness)
Maintenance (sleep disturbances, changes in appetite or energy levels)
Concussions impact each individual differently and it has been shown that age and gender often play a role in concussion management.
With the knowledge that the frontal lobes of the human brain are not fully developed in until age 25 it is vital to conservatively manage youth concussions to ensure optimal neurological development.
Recent research indicates that high school athletes not only take longer to recover after a concussion when compared to collegiate or professional athletes, but they also may experience greater severity of symptoms and more neurological disturbances as measured by neuropsychological and postural stability tests.
53% of high school athletes have sustained a concussion before participation in high school sports
36% of collegiate athletes have a history of multiple concussions
Data suggests that female athletes sustain more concussions than their male counterparts. A major reason results from females not having the same head-neck muscle mass as males, which contributes to frequent and greater whiplash movements on the brain itself.
Soccer poses the most risk for female athletes (50% chance for concussion)
Football poses the most risk for male athletes (75% chance for concussion)
High School & College Sports Related Concussions
As for young people, the CDCP Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), indicates that concussions account for nearly one in 10 sports injuries for those between 15-24 years of age, making sports second only to motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of brain injury.
Once an athlete has suffered an initial concussion, his or her chances of a second one are 3 to 6 times greater than an athlete who has never sustained a concussion.
Slightly more than a third of high school players in one recent survey who reported two or more concussions within the same school year.
High school athletes who suffer 3 or more concussions are at increased risk of experiencing loss of consciousness post-traumatic amnesia, reduced ability to form new memories after a brain injury, and confusion after a subsequent concussion.
Adolescences who are seen in a hospital emergency room for a head injury, concussion, skull fracture or intracranial injury are more than twice as likely to sustain a subsequent head injury of similar type within 12 months.