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Concussions do not discriminate

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Concussions are not limited to those playing sports. Concussions do not discriminate. All it takes is a serious, forceful blow to the head, neck or upper body regardless of what the person is doing at the time. Our brains are gelatinous in nature. They are protected by cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain between the brain itself and the skull. Bleeding can occur and can result in death. Knowing, recognizing and acting on the symptoms of concussion are vitally important.

Participating in sports such as football, soccer, hockey and boxing are obviously high-risk activities for sustaining concussions. Concussions can also occur during automobile accidents, physical abuse (e.g., shaken infant syndrome), falling and during combat. Any action causing the brain to bounce back and forth off the skull is cause for alarm. A concussion is considered to be a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is a serious injury.

Symptoms may appear immediately or manifest hours or days later. Symptoms can last for days, weeks or longer. It is imperative to know, recognize and act on the symptoms of concussion. Symptoms may include:

• Headache • A feeling of pressure in the head • Confusion • Amnesia or a loss of memory • “Seeing stars” or feeling dizzy immediately following the trauma • A ringing in the ears • Nausea and/or vomiting • Slurred speech • Uncharacteristic fatigue • Appearing dazed • Delayed verbal responses

Seek medical attention if any of the above listed symptoms manifest, persist or especially increase. Use objective judgment. Do not take a chance. Seek medical attention in all cases whereas the person loses consciousness. Calling 911 is optimum in such cases. Opt on the side of caution.

Be particularly careful with infants and toddlers as they are not equipped developmentally to assist in describing how they feel or what may have happened. Look for nonverbal signs, in addition to the above listed signs and symptoms, such as:

• Uncharacteristic listlessness, irritability and/or crankiness • Crying excessively • Unsteady gait and balance • A change in eating or sleeping routine • A lack of interest in prior interesting toys

With infants and toddlers seek medical guidance following anything you perceive as more than a light bump on the head or if any of the above signs manifest or persist. Opt on the side of caution. Do not take a chance. Seek medical authority and allow them to guide you. Allow a medical professional to tell you that all is well or otherwise.

The bottom line is that concussions are medically considered a serious traumatic brain injury and worthy of the upmost attention. If a person has already sustained a concussion they are at high-risk for sustaining another concussion. Do not take a chance. Seek medical attention. The brain is nothing to take for granted.

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