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Concussion in Sports


Concussion is a type of brain injury. It is recognised as a complex injury that is a challenge to evaluate and manage. It generally results from a knock often to the head, face or neck but may be anywhere on the body — which transmits an impulsive force to the head. It commonly involves short-lived impairment of brain function. Concussion is an evolving injury that may change over the first few hours and sometimes over a few days. In most cases symptoms have resolved by seven days post injury.

It affects athletes at all levels of sport from recreational sports to the full-time sports professionals. There has been growing concern in Australia and internationally about the incidence of sport-related concussion and potential health ramifications for athletes. If managed correctly most symptoms and signs will resolve spontaneously. However, complications can occur such as prolonged duration of symptoms and increased susceptibility to further injury if not managed correctly.

Possible signs and symptoms

* Headache
* ‘Pressure in the head’
* Neck pain
* Nausea or vomiting
* Dizziness
* Blurred vision
* Balance problems
* Sensitivity to light
* Sensitivity to noise
* Feeling slowed down
* Feeling like ‘in a fog’
* ‘Don’t feel right’
* Difficulty concentrating
* Difficulty remembering
* Fatigue or low energy
* Confusion
* Drowsiness
* Trouble falling asleep
* More emotional
* Irritability
* Sadness
* Nervous or anxious

Key Points

* Difficult to detect. The symptoms and signs can be varied, non-specific and subtle.
* Athletes with suspected concussion should be removed from the game and assessed by a medical doctor.
* Children and adolescents take longer to recover from concussion. A more conservative approach should be taken with those aged 18 or younger.
* Gradual return to sport protocol should be extended for individuals aged 18 and younger
* Medical imaging is not indicated unless there is suspicion of more serious head or brain injury.

Concussion in Sports – Website