Concussion: horror of sports-related brain damage article

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Concussions were traditionally seen as causing short-term functional problems like memory loss and impaired concentration. Now people are becoming increasingly aware that they result in structural damage, in particular to fine nerve-cell fibres called axons deep inside the brain.

A further common misperception is that you need to be knocked out to be concussed. In truth, as little as 10% of concussion is associated with loss of consciousness. Concussion is any disturbance in brain function caused by injury, either through direct contact with the head or through whiplash as a result of a blow somewhere else on the body.

The long list of signs and symptoms includes headaches, seizures, memory loss and visual disturbance, of which the commonest is headaches. Symptoms can be delayed, presenting hours or even a day after the event. Yet recent data shows that concussed athletes remaining in play are at increased risk of further injury. This can include non-brain injuries, although they particularly run the risk of worsening their brain injury if they sustain another blow – including the rare complication “second impact syndrome”, which can lead to severe complications and even death. “If in doubt, sit it out,” is the advice in all sports at all levels.

For more info on this please see our Concussion Management section in the menu above or by reading the article below: