Football has always been recognized as a violent game that often leads to injuries, but this year fans have seen a greater emphasis on a specific type of injury – concussions. What was formerly thought of as “getting your bell rung” or “seeing stars” is now being recognized for what it is, a traumatic brain injury.
This Sunday, the Giants will travel to Green Bay to play the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rogers, who has already suffered two concussions this year. Last Sunday, a wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts, Austin Collie, suffered his third concussion of the year. Fortunately, the NFL is monitoring concussions much more closely than they have in the past, and in doing so, have helped raise awareness of the dangers of concussions for everyone.
Outside the world of football, concussions are extraordinarily common. Clinically speaking, there are many misconceptions about what a concussion is. Contrary to some commonly held beliefs, concussions are generally not caused by bruises, swelling, or bleeding on the brain.
Instead, when an individual’s brain is suddenly accelerated, shaken, or rotated it causes the brains neurotransmitters to malfunction leading to the common concussion symptoms of confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, memory loss and so on.
As we learn more about these injuries, we are coming to understand that they can occur even when there is very mild trauma, especially if the victim has had a concussion in the past. Perhaps the biggest lessen to be taken from this new awareness is that all brain injuries have the potential to be serious injuries. Even injuries sometimes thought to be minor, such as whiplash, can lead to concussions and serious health issues down the road.
If you have suffered a head injury in a car accident, a work-related accident, or any other type of accident, you may want to let your physician know so you can look into whether you have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Source: New York Times, Concussion to Sideline Rogers, 12/18/10