Hey there sports fans! As much as we love the thrill of competition and the adrenaline rush of watching our favourite athletes, we can’t ignore the harsh reality that head injuries in sport are becoming all too common.
It is important to note that head injuries are not exclusive to contact sports like rugby or boxing. Even non-contact sports like football or basketball can result in head injuries from collisions or falls.
What is the impact of head injuries on athletes?
The impact of head injuries can be significant and long-lasting. Concussions are a type of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can occur from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. They can also be caused by a hit that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth, such as in a car crash or a fall.
Concussions can affect a person’s cognitive, physical, and emotional abilities. Cognitive symptoms may include difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and feeling mentally foggy. Physical symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, balance problems, and sensitivity to light and noise. Emotional symptoms may include irritability, anxiety, and depression.
It’s important to note that not all concussions result in loss of consciousness. In fact, most people who experience a concussion do not lose consciousness. Symptoms may appear immediately or may take several hours or days to develop.
How long does a concussion last?
The severity and duration of symptoms can vary from person to person. They can depend on many factors such as the age of the person, the force of the impact, and any previous history of head injury.
One of the most concerning aspects of concussions is that they can have long-term effects on brain function. Multiple concussions, or even a single severe concussion, can increase the risk of developing a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative brain disease. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion, and mood changes.
According to the UPMC, almost 1 in 5 adults (16%) claim to have suffered with a concussion in the past. A further 14% claiming that one or more close family members have had a concussion. Almost 3 in 10 (29%) of those who have personally had a concussion claim that they did not seek a clinical evaluation to diagnose and treat their suspected concussion. This is highly concerning.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has a concussion, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Rest and avoiding activities that can worsen symptoms are typically the first course of treatment. In some cases, rehabilitation therapy may be recommended. This can help manage symptoms and improve cognitive and physical function.
Concussions are a serious issue that should not be taken lightly. Understanding the signs and symptoms of a concussion and taking steps to prevent head injuries in sports and other activities can help protect the brain. Ensuring long-term health and well-being.
It’s not just professional athletes who are at risk. School and college athletes are also vulnerable. Studies have shown that younger athletes may take longer to recover from a concussion than older athletes.
How do we prevent head injuries?
So, what can be done to prevent head injuries in sports? For starters, proper safety equipment is crucial. Helmets, mouthguards, and other protective gear can reduce the risk of head injuries in contact sports. Playing safer in sports like rugby and not using high tackles to take your opponent down will also in turn, reduce the players risk of head injuries.
Additionally, coaches and athletes should be trained on how to recognise the signs of a concussion and what steps to take if one occurs. This includes removing the athlete from play immediately and seeking medical attention.
It’s also important for athletes to prioritise their own safety and speak up if they suspect they have a head injury. Playing through the pain may seem tough. However, it is not worth risking your long-term health and well-being.
As sports fans, we have a responsibility to advocate for safer playing conditions. While also supporting efforts to reduce the risk of head injuries in sports. By doing so, we can help ensure that athletes can continue to compete at their best, while minimising the risk of long-term damage.