Concussions are a serious threat to any athlete in any sport. About 5-10% of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport. This trauma is considered a brain injury which can obviously be caused by a direct blow to the head or an indirect blow to the body. Symptoms can be physical, cognitive, emotional and “maintenance.” (Maintenance is simply referring to loss of sleep, changes in appetite and energy levels, etc.). The most common symptoms to look for are headaches and dizziness immediately following the concussion.
Concussion history of an athlete is extremely important to note when determining the extent of the injury. If an athlete has already received on concussion, they are 1-2x more likely to receive a second. After the second, they are 2-4x more likely to receive a third, then they become 3-9x more likely to receive a fourth. The risk of receiving a concussion increases if you have already received one in the past.
There are multiple long term consequences of multiple concussions. Apart from the obvious neurologic damage from a concussion, there is also the development of mild cognitive impairments. It is extremely important the athlete is careful and patient enough to fully recover from a concussion before they put themselves at risk for another.
Just to reiterate, all athletes are at risk of experiencing a concussion. Football has the highest risk of concussion for males while soccer has the highest risk for females. Most concussions will happen during games, as opposed to practices, so it’s important not to get caught up in the action of the game and listen to your body and how it’s feeling after any blow to the head or body.
In the end, everyone should be aware that concussions can happen to anyone. Be sure to wear proper gear to protect yourself when playing your sport, play by the rules and practice good sportsmanship on the playing field.