Athletes are monitored for concussions during sports games in several ways. Team medical staff and coaches keep a close eye on players, watching for any signs of possible concussion, such as appearing dazed or confused, stumbling, or displaying uncoordinated movements. Many sports leagues and schools also have concussion protocols in place that require players suspected of having a concussion to be immediately removed from play and assessed. Some sports use sideline assessment tools like the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT), which includes a series of tests to evaluate an athlete’s physical and cognitive function.
Yes, concussions can potentially cause changes in hearing, including ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or sensitivity to certain sounds (phonophobia). These symptoms may be temporary and improve as the concussion heals, but it is essential to monitor and address them as needed.
Recovery from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) largely depends on the severity of the injury, the person’s overall health, and the quality of treatment received. While full or near-full recovery is expected in mild cases, such as concussions, severe TBIs can result in lasting physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. The recovery process includes initial medical stabilization followed by rehabilitation to regain as much function as possible. Despite potential long-term disabilities in severe cases, improvements can continue over years, albeit at a slower pace. Ongoing research into neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation is expanding potential recovery possibilities. Always consult with a healthcare professional for the most current TBI recovery information.
Concussion symptoms can linger for a while after the concussion has technically healed. There is no definitive answer to this question, as concussion symptoms can vary from person to person. However, in general, if a concussion sufferer feels like they are back to their normal self both physically and mentally, then they likely are concussion-free. If concussion symptoms persist after a reasonable amount of time (i.e. several weeks), it is advisable to speak with a doctor to rule out any other potential causes for the lingering symptoms.
Indeed, a concussion can impact mental health. After a concussion, some individuals experience mood changes, anxiety, depression, irritability, or even personality changes. These alterations could result from the physical trauma to the brain, the range of symptoms experienced, or the necessary changes and adaptations during the recovery period. They could be temporary or more long-lasting. If an individual experiences such mental health changes following a concussion, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare provider. Incorporating mental health support as part of the recovery process is crucial to comprehensive concussion management. Our Edmonton clinic offers the vast support and assistance needed to support you or your loved one.
While concussions can happen at any age, older adults may be at higher risk due to factors such as decreased balance and age-related changes in brain structure. Falls prevention strategies, maintaining a safe environment, and regular exercise to improve strength and balance can help reduce the risk of concussions in older adults.
There is not a definitive test that can diagnose a concussion like a blood test or imaging scan. A concussion is usually diagnosed based on physical symptoms, cognitive impairment, and neurological examination. A healthcare professional might assess the person’s balance, coordination, reflexes, and memory. In cases with severe symptoms or those that don’t improve over time, a CT scan or MRI may be ordered, primarily to rule out more serious brain injuries, such as bleeding or swelling in the brain. However, most concussions won’t show up on these types of scans.
A baseline concussion assessment is a pre-season examination that gauges an athlete’s normal brain function before participation in sports. It is conducted by a trained health professional and includes tests that assess cognitive abilities, balance, and brain function. The results provide a “baseline” against which post-injury assessments can be compared in the event of a concussion. This comparison aids in diagnosing the severity of the concussion and informing treatment decisions. The goal is to ensure safe return-to-play decisions for athletes after a head injury.
While rare, concussions can potentially increase the risk of seizures, especially if the injury involves a more severe brain trauma. It is important to monitor for any seizure activity and seek medical attention if seizures occur.
A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). The term “TBI” covers brain injuries of varying severity, from mild to severe. Concussions are at the mild end of the spectrum and are characterized by a temporary alteration in brain function caused by an external force. Although most people recover fully from a concussion, the brain is vulnerable to further injury during the recovery period. Severe THIs can involve prolonged unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury, and they often have more significant and long-lasting effects on cognitive, physical, and emotional function.
While concussions are often associated with a direct blow to the head, they can also be caused by any force that results in a rapid movement of the head. This can include a whiplash-type injury or a fall where the head doesn’t necessarily hit anything but moves rapidly enough to cause the brain to bounce or twist inside the skull, leading to damage. The key aspect is the force and speed of movement, which can cause the brain to collide with the inner walls of the skull.