When doctors talk about concussions, they’re speaking about brain injuries. These days, the medical community understands concussions somewhat better than it did years before. Doctors and scientists that study the human brain know that even mild concussions can have long-lasting consequences.
Managing the effects of a concussion becomes crucial if you sustain one. We’ll talk about concussions in detail right now.
Some Common Ways Concussions Occur
You can sustain a concussion in many different ways. For instance, you might slip and fall while you’re at home or when you’re out in the world. It can happen while you’re on the job, in a store, or virtually anywhere else.
You might slip in the shower and hit your head, or you might stumble on some ice on a sidewalk. You might fall in a grocery store if an employee just mopped and they didn’t put up a sign warning the customers.
You might also sustain a concussion while playing sports. That’s very common. Whether you play professionally or in an amateur league, any time someone runs into you, you’re risking a concussion. If you play a sport like football, rugby, or hockey, where other players run into you at high speeds, you significantly increase your concussion risks.
Concussions can occur during car crashes as well. If you’re in a low-speed collision, you probably won’t sustain one, but at higher speeds, they become more likely.
Any time you hit your head, you might sustain a concussion. The harder you hit it, the more likely you’ll receive this injury type. The medical community has started differentiating between the kinds of concussions you can get.
Concussions can happen anywhere, even in the workplace. A workers comp neurologist can help assess your concussion and guide you through the necessary steps for recovery. Treatment for a workplace-related concussion may include a combination of rest, medication, and rehabilitation exercises.
In addition to medical treatment, a workers’ comp neurologist can assist in documenting your injury for the workers’ compensation claim. This documentation is crucial for ensuring you receive the appropriate compensation and support during your recovery.
The Different Concussion Grades
These days, when a doctor tells you that you sustained a concussion, they can give it a grade. That grade indicates the injury’s severity. The grades range from 1-4, with Grade 1 being the least dangerous and Grade 4 the most severe.
With a Grade 1 concussion, you sustain a blow and feel dazed for no longer than a minute, on average. With a Grade 2 concussion, you have cloudy senses that last longer than with Grade 1. You might also have irritability, a ringing in your ears, confusion, amnesia, and mild or severe dizziness.
With a Grade 3 concussion, you lose consciousness, but for a minute or less. When you wake up, you probably have some or all of the symptoms of a Grade 2 concussion.
Doctors consider Grade 4 the worst kind of concussion. You lose consciousness for more than a minute. When you wake up, you experience the same symptoms that go with a Grade 2 concussion, but they’re probably pretty severe. You’ll likely have some serious disorientation and confusion.
The longer you lose consciousness, the worse the concussion. If you see a player take a nasty hit on a football field and lose consciousness for more than a minute, they can’t continue the game.
In 2023, independent medical professionals determine whether the player can reenter the game. The NFL and other sports leagues view concussions more seriously than they did in the past. They realize that these brain injuries can bring on CTE.
What Does CTE Mean?
CTE means chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It’s a condition that can develop if a person sustains multiple concussions. In some instances, you can develop CTE following just one concussion if you hit your head hard enough.
Below are the signs and symptoms of CTE:
- Memory loss
- Impaired judgment
- Difficulty concentrating
Behavioral and Mood Changes:
- Emotional instability
- Difficulty with balance and coordination
- Difficulty with speech and swallowing
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Substance abuse
Many former NFL players and other individuals who sustained multiple concussions develop CTE. Those who do often have permanent memory loss.
They might experience severe depression. Their family members often say that their entire personality changes. They’re usually irritable or confused as they get older.
The former NFL player Junior Seau shot himself because of these symptoms. When medical science studied his brain, doctors saw that it had significant deterioration.
At about that time, doctors realized that they should take concussions much more seriously. They said NFL teams couldn’t just tell players they should walk it off and get back in the game following massive hits. They realized concussions could have long-lasting consequences and that players risked their lives if they sustained multiple concussions and kept playing like nothing happened.
Understanding Concussions in a Modern Setting
While doctors know more about concussions and CTE now than they have before, they’re still learning. They know that concussions can change someone’s life and personality.
However, they don’t quite understand how one person might sustain what seems like a minor concussion, but they may have side effects from that injury that seem quite severe. Someone one might have multiple concussions but get through it relatively okay.
Presumably, each person’s brain reacts differently. One thing seems certain, though. Whenever someone sustains a concussion or some other brain injury, they’re risking permanent damage if they don’t take a step back and discontinue the activity that caused it.
Of course, you can sustain a concussion by falling on the ice and hitting your head, and presumably, you didn’t do that on purpose. If you don’t play a professional sport or do something else that makes concussions likely, you can’t change a problematic behavior and make yourself safer. You must simply hope that if you live your life carefully, you will not sustain another concussion unless you’re extraordinarily unlucky and you have another accident.
Recovery from a concussion, a mild traumatic brain injury resulting from head trauma, involves taking a step towards a healthy lifestyle to facilitate healing and prevent further harm. While the pace of recovery varies among individuals, general recommendations can guide this process.
Adequate rest, both physically and mentally, is essential, including sufficient sleep. Activities demanding concentration, such as reading or screen use, should be limited. Gradual reintroduction of activities is advised, avoiding strenuous exercise until healthcare providers approve. Maintaining hydration and a healthy diet supports overall well-being.
If you live your life cautiously, you might never sustain a concussion. Far more people never suffer one than those who do. If you ever hit your head, though, and you experience any of the concussion symptoms we’ve described, you should not just shrug it off in a show of stoicism. You need to take the event seriously and see a doctor without delay.
Only a medical doctor can say definitely whether you sustained a concussion or not. They can then decide what treatment works best.
They might recommend some downtime. You won’t work, and you’ll stay off your feet while your brain heals. Hopefully, you won’t sustain any lasting damage if you concuss yourself.