Concussions & The Student Athlete: What You Need To Know

Concussion Doctor In Davenport

By: Clay Kuethe D.C. (Dr. Clay)

When I was in high school, being evaluated for a concussion was not par for the course. Getting your bell rung was part of playing a sport. That was a mere 10 years ago. We now realize that a concussion is a much more serious injury than was previously thought. Safety should always be of the utmost importance when we are talking about sports, and concussions should be part of that discussion. So what is a concussion?

The easiest way to understand a concussion is that it is a functional brain injury rather than a structural injury. There is not any physical damage that can be recorded via X-ray or MRI, but there are many neurological, behavioral, cognitive, and somatic functional problems that are visible. So you are probably wondering how does this happen?

Your brain communicates via electrical impulses that have to cross these things called synapses in order to deliver the message. A hard blow to the head, or shaking (where force is applied elsewhere and transferred to the brain) results in a disruption of the synapses. This can cause a complex cascade event where ion balance, metabolic processes, and normal physiology are thrown out of balance. Until everything is back to normal, you should not be playing.

If there is any suspicion of concussion, a person should be removed from play immediately. If you are not functioning normally, then there is no way you should be doing something that makes you more vulnerable to injury. Symptoms of concussion vary and not all symptoms are present with every individual. Getting a concussion is very specific to the person that receives it. That is why it is important that all athletes have a baseline concussion evaluation, so that it can be determined when it is safe to return to play.

The most of important part of concussion treatment is determining when it is safe to play. This is an individual process for each person and can take anywhere from three days to one year. Rest is the most important factor for recovery. Abstaining from electronic devices and external stimuli for a couple of days can give the brain a chance to calm down and regulate the imbalances that are occurring. Having a trained doctor and a baseline evaluation can greatly help with returning to play safely. There can be frustrations along the way if you do not get better really fast, or if the concussion is causing sleep or learning problems. Know that these problems are normal and are not your fault. Rest and time are the best things to help with the recovery process.

Second Impact Syndrome is the main reason to follow a return to play protocol. A minor injury while still experiencing symptoms of concussion can result in swelling of the brain and loss of control over the blood supply to the brain. This can result in permanent disability or even death.

Children and teens are at the greatest risk for concussion. Their nervous system is not yet fully developed, leaving it open to injury. They have less defined musculature around the head and neck. They may have improper techniques, and their systems are more sensitive to concussion symptoms. This means that the force required to cause a concussion may not need to be as great to cause a concussion in a younger person.

I am going to list some symptoms of concussion below. We offer $20.00 baseline concussion evaluations here in the office, so make sure to have your athlete stop by and get their baseline evaluation done no matter what sport they play. Remember to choose us as your Chiropractor in Davenport, IA. Until next time, Get Adjusted & Be Well!

 

Somatic Signs

—  Headaches

—  Dizziness

—  Balance disruption

—  Nausea and/or vomiting

—  Visual disturbances (blurry/double vision)

—  Photophobia

—  Phonophobia

Cognitive

—  Confusion

—  Anterograde amnesia

—  Retrograde amnesia

—  Loss of consciousness

—  Disorientation

—  Feeling mentally foggy

—  Vacant stare

—  Inability to focus

—  Delayed verbal and motor responses

—  Slurred or incoherent speech

—  Excessive drowsiness

—  Lethargy

Affective

— Emotional lability

— Irritability

— Fatigue

— Anxiety

— Sadness

 

Sleep

-Trouble falling asleep

-Sleeping less than usual

-Sleeping more than usual

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