From an article that we enjoyed.
Heighten your concussion awareness
Concussions are a serious problem for all athletes, especially those who play a contact sport such as hockey and football.
Here are a few important facts about concussions:
- A concussion is an injury of the brain and is very serious
- Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness
- Concussions can occur in any sport
- It’s extremely important to recognize when a concussion has happened and respond appropriately when they first occur1
What causes a concussion
Concussions are caused by a bump or jolt to the head, or if the lower part of the body is hit in such a way that it causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.
Concussions can also occur from a fall. Doctors have increasingly realized that many athletes may just write off a bump to the head as not a big deal. However, it is important to recognize when a concussion happens so your athlete can receive immediate medical attention.2
How to identify a concussion
It’s critical that parents, coaches, and players alike can recognize the signs of a concussion and ensure an athlete receives immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms, even if that’s days or weeks after the injury. Common symptoms of a concussion include:3
- Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision
- Bothered by light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Confusion, or concentration or memory problems
- Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”
Recovery is key for the injured person to return to health and a full quality of life, physically and cognitively. Rest is the most important treatment. The athlete should not do any activities—including exercise, driving, reading or even playing on the computer—that may make their symptoms worse. Plus, their return to school or work should occur gradually and not until they feel better and school/work activities do not aggravate symptoms.
Understanding the risks
Athletes of all ages and levels are susceptible to experiencing serious and even life-threatening injuries while playing their sport. All it takes is one hard hit (or a bump, blow, jolt or ding) to the head, with or without a helmet. Here are some facts:
- Athletes who have already had a concussion are at an increased risk for another concussion
- Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults
- A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first can slow recovery time or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems
- Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death.4
- Helmets may help lessen the impact of a hit, but there is nothing on the market currently that can completely prevent a concussion.5
How to prevent a concussion
At the professional level, there’s always more being done to make gameplay safer. For instance, the NFL and its 32 club owners are now providing an additional $100 million to support engineering advancement, medical and neuroscience research. On top of that, researchers at UCLA are working on a new material to replace foam in helmets and the US Army Research lab is researching the use of fluid-filled elastic straps to improve neck support.6 But what can you do to promote safety?
You should encourage your family athletes to wear protective gear like helmets and mouth guards and listen to the advice of their coaches and physicians. Additionally, ensure that playing surfaces are even and free of potholes.
And because the unthinkable can happen, be prepared with a quality supplemental accident insurance plan. Even if you have savings set aside to help cover unexpected hospital visits, you may be surprised by how quickly funds get used up. Aside from your deductibles and coinsurance, you’ll likely have other costs associated with the injury like transportation to and from the hospital and even loss of income if you stay home to help care for your recovering child. An accident plan can help you cover these costs—and more.