Concussion Health Risks, Symptoms and Prevention
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Concussion Health Risks, Symptoms and Prevention

A concussion can happen in many instances other than just playing sports and be more serious than just getting dinged in the jaw or head. There are symptoms and health risks of having a concussion that everyone should be aware of. This article will show you the health risks, symptoms and how to prevent a concussion.

A concussion is actually a bruise or an injury to the brain and can cause long lasting health problems, both mental and physical. Concussions have become a major topic recently because of the lawsuits against the NFL (National Football League) and the suicide of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau, though there is no proof his suicide was a result of concussions.

It is believed that concussions can cause long term mental health problems that can include dementia, anger issues and depression. Many former NFL players are now suing the NFL to get better health benefits for the problems that are caused by concussions and how this was ignored while playing football.

This is a debatable topic since football players make a lot of money and knew what the health risks were when they signed their contracts. On the other hand, football players believe they are not getting the proper health benefits for the health problems that concussions can cause and the team doctors as well as the NFL ignored their concussions and had them go out and play again when they were not healthy to play.

NFL Players and Concussions

As a lifelong fan of the NFL, I have watched hundreds of football games and heard many stories. I saw a play where former Denver Bronco running back Floyd Little was hit so hard in the head he went to the wrong huddle. Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus had to walk Floyd back to the Bronco’s huddle.

Other players had to park their cars in the same spot at the stadium or they would forget where they parked. And still other players have lived a life of misery with depression or anger problems believed to have been caused by concussions.

Tight end John Mackey, who played for the Baltimore Colts, died in 2011 from frontotemporal dementia (FTD) at the age of 69. He lived a life of misery from dementia for years because of concussions.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion can happen many different ways when you are hit in the head. You can fall down, be hit in the jaw, a car accident, riding a bike or while playing sports.

Hitting your head shakes and jars the brain but there might not be any visible sign of an injury or bruise, but the brain has been injured. The fluid that surrounds the brain keeps it from hitting the skull, when there is a hard hit to the head and the brain is jarred and can hit the skull.

Do not think you have to be knocked unconscious to have a concussion. A concussion can be as simple as just feeling “dinged” in the head or forgetting your name. Concussion symptoms can be worse and is something that has to be taken seriously.

Symptoms of a Concussion

As an adult the usual symptoms of a concussion are known but often ignored. You might not understand a normal question or you could forget your child’s name. As a parent, it is harder to know if your child has had a concussion. All of us want to stay in the game, and might guess the correct answer to fake not having a concussion. Knowing the symptoms of a concussion is important and includes:

  • Confused thinking.
  • Headaches.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Nausea and or throwing up.
  • Being dizzy.
  • Off balance.
  • Your eyes suddenly become sensitive to lights
  • Your ears become sensitive to sound or a ringing in the ears.
  • Not being able to remember something you should know.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Easily angered.
  • Sad or depressed.
  • Suddenly anxious.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Unconscious after being hit in the head.

I have had concussions before, and the symptoms that were the worst for me were nausea, being dizzy and a prolonged headache.

Concussions with Children

Children can get a concussion easily like falling at the playground or riding a bike, getting hit in the jaw during a fight and any kind of sport. Thankfully more coaches, doctors and school nurses are learning to look for signs of a concussion.

If you think you have a concussion or your child has a concussion, talk to a doctor immediately. Your doctor can prescribe any type of medication you or your child might need.

Children from pee-wee sports to high school want to compete and not admit to being hurt. The most important thing a parent can do is to have their child diagnosed and find out if they have a concussion. If your child does have a concussion, they should not be allowed to play sports again until the doctor allows them to play. Playing sports too soon after a concussion can cause more health problems.

How to Prevent Concussions

A big question that parents are asking today is, should they let or encourage their child to play sports like football. Even though concussions can happen in many other endeavors other than sports, if your child does play a contact sport like football, there are a few tips that can help prevent concussions.

  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bike, skiing or other sports.
  • Get the best helmet possible if your child plays football.
  • Always wear a mouth guard while playing football. You can be hit in the jaw or fall and hit your chin on the ground which can also cause a jarring of the brain. A mouth protector can prevent much of this jarring if hit in the jaw and prevent a concussion.

When you start to play football, learn the proper way to tackle. Hitting or tackling someone the wrong way can hurt your head and cause a concussion. Coaches now know the way to teach proper tackling techniques that will avoid injury.

Concussion Conclusion

Do not stop playing sports or keep your children from playing sports, just be aware of the symptoms and how you can prevent a concussion. Playing sports is what many of us want to do, but when hurt with a concussion, you have to take it easy and not play for a while. Many NFL players looking back today wish they had taken more games off after a concussion.

Peer pressure, losing your position and prestige has taken precedent over health. This should change with recent developments and knowledge of the long term health risks of a concussion.

Copyright © Sam Montana May 2012

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Comments (7)

I have the thought that even better health benefits will not stop concussions or even limit them. The only way to stop the concussions or limit them is to stop playing the rough contact sport of football. Spoken like a nurse. Well presented article.Thank you.

It is very important that people know the signs because concussions are fairly common and serious.

yes and here in quebec they are getting really strick about minor league hockey and the kids are getting heavy punishments for fighting on the ice because of the danger involved

Very well emphasized facts about this disorder, Sam. I recall I knocked my head hard on the floor when I slipped while being chased back at school while in elementary. It just got me a little bit worried...well I hope not after all these years.

You explained this very well.  I learned something here.

Nice article with essential tips. Thank you Sam. Voted. Always seeking your support.

Great article and very informative. I just wrote my very first article, I finally got the courage to do so, I hope it will be accepted and posted.