Concussions are Serious
by Olaberge on March 31, 2014 - 2:24pm
Reference: Ashare, Alan B. “Returning to play after concussion” Acta Paediatrica 98.5 (May 2009): 774-776. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 March 2014.
Everybody agrees that organized sports are good for our population’s health in general. However some sports are more at risk to injury than others and we have to make them as safe as possible. Concussions in sports is a serious issue that medical professionals, trainers and equipment designers are trying to solve. Some cases on former professional hockey and football players showed that early dementia has probably a link to multiple head injuries. A few questions were ask by parents to the author of this article, Alan B. Ashare, like how long is the recovery, is it something to be concerned about and how can we know if someone has suffered a concussion. A lot of progress was done in the last ten years and the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is trying to reduce the amount of concussions with the use of many different programs. There are also many conferences on prevention, diagnosis and better understanding of the issue.
Expert agree that the best way to reduce this situation is by preventative measures and better treatment which comes with a better understanding of the injury. It’s also important to know that the number of concussions has not increased its more that we are now better at recognizing this situation. However, even though we get better at recognizing it we have problem in trying to define it. There are many definitions, but none our very precise. The best definition for it comes from the Concussion in Sports Group. It is mostly “Concussion is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces” (Ashare, 774)
A concussion can be caused by any shock to the head and the repercussions of this injury are still frequently underestimated. A player can feel the consequences of his head injuries only a few weeks after the incident. X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans can’t be analysed to define when the player may return to play. The best method we have today is baseline testing. Players answer to a bunch of question at the beginning of the season and when there are doubts that they might have suffered a concussion, they are asked the same questions. The player can only return to play when his answers are the same as the ones at the beginning of the season. Also, no players should comeback in the same game if there are any doubts that he or she has suffered a concussion. Every case should be treated individually and younger person should take more time before coming back from a head injury. Coming back too soon can be deadly in extreme cases.
Our knowledge about concussions is still small, but we still have made significant progress recently. We now know that helmets decrease the severity of a head trauma. Also, dehydrated players are more likely to suffer a concussion. Players who have been diagnosed with a concussion should not return to play until the symptoms go away. Moreover, psychometric testing seems to be a great method to know when a player can return to play. Futhermore, younger players need more time to recover. Also, players don’t have to pass out to have suffered a concussion and losing consciousness doesn’t mean you have suffered a severe concussion. Finally, parents should ask their questions about concussions before the start of the season.