The dangers of concussions

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Rebecca Matthews, The Delphi Writer

Everyone knows the term “concussion,” but what exactly does it mean to have one and what are the effects?

Concussions occur when you bump or jolt your head, which causes a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). It could also occur when you take a hard blow to the body, causing your head to rapidly move back and forth. There are plenty of symptoms that occur after the injury, including headaches, confusion, dizziness, lack of focus, light/sound sensitivity, and nausea. More severe symptoms include loss of consciousness, vomiting, and memory complaints. If you have any of these symptoms after a blow to the head, seek immediate medical attention.

The recovery period often takes a few weeks, but depending on the severity it could take much longer. Within the first few days, the symptoms are at their worst. In order to begin recovering from a concussion, start by limiting all of the activities that could worsen the symptoms such as school and sports. Do not use electronic devices, such as cell phones, since they hurt your eyes and could delay your recovery. You should also avoid caffeine, since it could make you jittery. Many find the recovery process very boring, since you can’t do too much, but the best thing to do is rest and take naps.

After a concussion, make sure you follow up with your doctor on how quickly you should return to your regular routine. Always go through the recovery process, making sure you ease your way back into things. DO NOT come back to activities without going through the doctor’s protocol.

If you return too quickly and get hit again, there is a possibility of getting second impact syndrome. SIS is very unknown and uncommon, and the symptoms are brutal. The brain can swelling even more than before, causing more brain cells to be lost. With SIS, there is a very high risk of blacking out, suffering from severe headaches, and death in most cases.

I recently recovered from a concussion. In December, I got kicked in the head 4 times at cheerleading practice, causing headaches, light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and mild dizziness. My family doctor kept me out of cheer, gym, and quizzes/tests for 3 weeks. I took a visit to Pona, Del Val’s athletic trainer, who explained the recovery process.

If you think you have a concussion, please seek immediate medical attention. Concussions are dangerous and need to be taken seriously.