What Is a Concussion? (Animated Video)
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Think of the human brain almost as an egg yolk and your skull as an egg shell. When your head or body takes a hit, it can cause your brain to shake around inside your skull, injuring the brain.
In fact, the word concussion is derived from Latin and actually means just that – “to shake violently.” When this happens, it can stretch or damage the brain cells causing chemical changes in the brain.
Each year, there are 1.8 to 3.6 million concussions in sports and recreational activities. 3.6 million is a lot of people – more people than the entire population of the city of Chicago.
A concussion is not only caused by a hit to the head, but can also be caused by an impact to the body that ends up shaking your brain in your skull, such as whiplash.
A common misconception about concussion is that one loses consciousness. However, loss of consciousness occurs in only less than 10% of concussion cases.
With concussions, we have learned that it generally takes youth longer to recover from concussions. It’ll usually take longer for a high school player to recover from a concussion than a college athlete. And it will also usually take longer for an athlete in elementary school to recover than one in high school.
Another thing that we now know about concussions is that it usually takes female athletes longer to recover than male athletes.
No two concussions are identical. In fact, there are at least six different clinical trajectories that concussions may take.
So what do you do if you have a concussion? If it’s during an activity, immediately remove yourself from play. Once an injury occurs, the brain is in an extremely vulnerable state and more susceptible to further injury. When in doubt, sit it out.
The best way to treat a concussion is by properly managing it by seeing a medical professional that specializes in concussion management and treatment. So now you know even more about concussions.