Knowing how to recognize a potential concussion is important. Concussions are not always as apparent as one might think, but their consequences can be serious. In addition, sports with the most concussions are not necessarily those we would expect. For example, did you know that in hockey, there are many more concussions in women than in men? Yet women’s hockey is non-contact (one of the few sports where the rules are different for men than women). Also, did you know that soccer is one of the sports with the most concussions?
If you’re curious about which sports have the most concussions, read the article: The frequency of concussions.
The importance of recognizing a concussion lies partly in the consequences of a second concussion before the person has fully recovered from the first, which can be devastating.
Generally, it is on the symptoms felt (and declared) by the person, that we base ourselves to determine if there is or not a concussion. However, for a variety of reasons, a person may prefer not to talk about his or her symptoms and continue to play. When a second concussion occurs before the symptoms of the first have resolved, there may be what is called “the second impact syndrome”. The second impact syndrome is rare but serious, and fatal in half of the cases.
A significant impact
The first thing to consider when identifying a concussion is a significant impact on the head or body. Why the body? Because the force of the impact can be transmitted to the head and brain, causing damage. In addition, there may be a secondary impact, such as the head hitting the ground after the fall.
Loss of consciousness
If a person loses consciousness during an impact, as briefly as it may be, he or she definitely suffered a concussion. If the person remains unconscious for more than one minute, they should be taken to emergency medical services as there may be a more serious injury. When a person remains immobile on the ground after a major impact, it is very likely that they lost consciousness and suffered a concussion.
Holding the head or having trouble getting up
Holding the head, or the helmet after an impact can be a sign of a concussion. If a person has difficulty getting up, if he or she stumbles, lacks coordination, or seems disoriented, a concussion may be suspected.
A person who seems confused or disoriented, or who has an empty stare, may have suffered a concussion. Same thing if the person has difficulty speaking or can not understand or answer simple questions following the impact, or if he or she demonstrates speech problems.
What to do next?
In the world of sport, endurance and tenacity are often valued. Sometimes at the expense of safety and health. If you suspect a concussion in a teammate, an opponent or a young person during a game you are attending with your family, you must immediately take that player out of the game and put him or her in touch with the coach or their caretaker. If you suspect a more serious problem, refer the person to the emergency room. When in doubt, it is best to take them out of the game for safety.
Did you know?
Acupuncture is a great help in the treatment of concussions and can be integrated into the multidisciplinary care that concussions require. Contact us to learn more about what acupuncture and Chinese medicine can do for you.