Concussions: Brain Injury Awareness Month – By Lydia Henry, DOMP

We hear a lot about concussions in the news these days. Have they increased in sports due to competitiveness or are we just more educated and aware of the risks now?

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Leading neurologist and other physicians in the field of sports have been meeting over the last several years to understand how concussions manifest themselves and how to best treat them. They’ve come up with this definition of a concussion:

“Concussion is a brain injury and is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces…may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an ‘‘impulsive’ force transmitted to the head.

Concussion typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously. However, in some cases, symptoms and signs may evolve over a number of minutes to hours.”

How do you know if you or a loved one has a concussion? After the incident, watch for one or several of these signs and symptoms:

Loss of consciousness, seizure or convulsion, amnesia, headache or pressure in head, neck pain, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, having trouble balancing, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, feeling of “fogginess”/“don’t feel right”, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering, fatigue or low energy, confusion, drowsiness, more emotional, irritable, sad, nervous and/or anxious

How do you manage a concussion (signs and symptoms may worsen in the first 24 – 48 hrs)?

Go to the hospital if any condition worsens or any new neurological signs and/or symptoms arise (seizures, vomiting, memory loss, confusion etc).

When do you return to play or regular activity?

See a sports medicine doctor that deals with concussion on a regular basis, they will clear you for return to sports after performing physical and cognitive testing.

What treatments can help?

Complete rest is recommended and consult with a sports medicine physician. Osteopathic treatment has been effective in the treatment of concussion syndrome by using gentle techniques to realign the body to improve health and balance. Cranial Sacral technique is one of ways osteopathic manual practitioners use to relieve headaches, pressure and many other symptoms of concussions.

Prevention is key – protect your head with the proper equipment. Unfortunately after someone suffers their first concussion, it is more likely for them to have cumulative effects when suffering another blow to the head or body.
For more information regarding concussions please visit the following websites:

Consensus statement on concussion in sport: the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Zurich, November 2012. Paul McCrory,1 Willem H Meeuwisse, 2,3 Mark Aubry,4,5,6 Bob Cantu,7,8 Ji�í Dvo�ák,9,10,11 Ruben J Echemendia,12,13 Lars Engebretsen,14,15,16 Karen Johnston,17,18 Jeffrey S Kutcher,19 Martin Raftery,20 Allen Sills,21 Brian W Benson,22,23,24 Gavin A Davis,25 Richard G Ellenbogen,26,27 Kevin Guskiewicz,28 Stanley A Herring,29,30 Grant L Iverson,31 Barry D Jordan,32,33,34 James Kissick,6,35,36,37 Michael McCrea,38 Andrew S McIntosh,39,40,41 David Maddocks,42 Michael Makdissi,43,44 Laura Purcell,45,46 Margot Putukian,47,48 Kathryn Schneider,49 Charles H Tator,50,51,52,53 Michael Turner54