With the beginning of the college and professional football seasons comes the discussion of concussions and head injuries. Many young people and “weekend warriors” like to engage in contact sports.
When someone sustains a concussion, the impact is usually quick and those stricken experience obvious physical manifestations that might suggest the presence of said malady. However, there are other occasions when concussion symptoms can be more subtle or even delayed. The less common concussion manifestations can encompass different symptom categories such as physical, cognitive and mental and could persist for weeks or months following the concussion-producing incident.
Concussions are categorized as mild traumatic brain injuries (TMIs). Typically, the event is precipitated by a swift or violent blow to the head, which causes said structure and the neck to jerk back with significant force and cause a rattling or movement of the brain. Such unexpected movement normally causes minor and short-lived brain injury but, in severe instances, could result in permanent, disabling features.
It is important to realize that symptoms may vary from individual to individual. In many instances, the degree of concussion will dictate the severity of symptoms witnessed. That said, less common physical symptoms might include continual headaches, nausea, vertigo (dizziness), appetite loss, insomnia, balance issues, vision disturbances, light sensitivity and significant fatigue.
Individuals afflicted with late onset or lingering concussion manifestations might experience cognitive difficulties such as memory loss, trouble establishing and maintaining focus, in addition to a diminished ability to learn or retain information read or heard.
Slow-developing concussions might precipitate a host of mental issues such as wild mood swings, anger, anxiety and depression.
The Importance Of Evaluation
Persons who believe they might have sustained a mild or delayed onset concussion are strongly advised to obtain a thorough evaluation from a qualified healthcare professional. Concussions, particularly if a significant amount of time has passed since the inciting incident, can be difficult to diagnose and can mimic a number of other health issues. Therefore, early diagnosis can lead to swifter treatment and the potential to prevent lingering, sometimes lifelong problems.
The specific therapeutic protocol initiated by a stricken individual’s doctor will depend upon the severity and presence of symptoms. Pain from headaches can often be treated with over-the-counter headache preparations. That said, the greatest healer is time. The brain needs time to rest and repair. This means impacted persons should not engage in contact sports or partake in any other activities that may precipitate or exacerbate existing manifestations.