Sports-Related Concussions in Young Athletes

The Study & Importance of Recognition & Treatment of Concussion in Young Athletes

In the world of an athlete, sports injuries are a part of their daily routine more often in the excitement and heat of the moment during a game, they try all the more to ignore the injury in order to continue the game.

A simple head bump is one of the most common forms of injury in a game, however, how often are they treated to the extent of seriousness they rather deserve? A simple bump in the head because of a ball, a person or an object can as well be a serious head injury like a concussion that required a more immediate attention.

And that is how a research was led in Toronto where scientists compared studies between brains of athletes who reported having a history of repeated concussion prior to their injury and after their last injury, even years later.

This study report aims at attracting more awareness among young athletes and their caretakers to prevent any unnecessary trouble that can easily be avoided if one takes a proper effort in gaining the required awareness, acting on it wisely when needed and following the further steps understanding & respecting its importance.

Ignoring what might seem as mild, short term and temporary symptoms can prove to be long term, harmful to one’s health and in a young athlete’s career.

The Underlining Result of the Research

Before delving into the importance of understanding the exact meaning of a concussion and how to handle it, knowing the result of the research conducted is extremely important in order to develop a sense of better knowledge, comprehension, and protection for oneself. Researchers discovered high noticeable and distinguished changes in the concussed brains of young athletes where it affected their brain and the blood flow in it.

About 10% to 20% of the reduction in the volume of the frontal lobe was noticed and the diminution in the blood flow to specific areas of the brain by a large percentile of 25 to 35. The frontal lobe is the primary organ of the brain that controls the cognitive skills such as emotions, memory, judgmental ability, communication skills, and problem recognition.

They act as the primary control panel of our brain and body. While the reduction in blood flow leads to the minimization of transference of oxygen to the parts of the brain, leading to the death of the respective cells in the areas,  thereby, eventually slowing down or damaging the brain and even a result as fatal as brain death.

Of the 43 athletes whose brains were examined in the research 21 were men while the rest 22 women and 21 with the history of at least two concussion injuries and 22 having none.  It was concluded that the shrinkage of the frontal lobe of the brain and the decrease in the blood flow was more affected on those without any prior history of concussions.

During the injury, the symptoms felt are usually short term and not highly alarming, but that is where the crucial importance of having the adequate awareness comes into place. These symptoms can affect for a long period of time, resulting in dire and harmful consequences if not tended to in time.

For those with a history of concussion, a distinctive change that was noticed was regarding the structure of the white matter of the brain. The white matter functions as the ‘connector’ between the various parts of the brain.  Therefore, understanding the adversary effects of a concussion is of vital importance because it is by no means a short-term injury even if the symptoms may seem like it initially.

Understanding Concussion in Depth

It is imperative to be able to distinguish concussion than a simple smack in the head. Though wearing a protective head gear during a collision may save the young player from a skull fracture it does not guarantee that there’s any concussion as well. Concussion, since it is an injury at the inner level of the brain and invisible to the naked eye is often not given the right importance.

What is a Concussion?

When the collision is powerful enough, it causes the brain go back and forth inside the skull turning the mild head injury to a concussion.  Concussions are prone to occur even if the person hasn’t been knocked unconscious.

A collision from another player, hard surfaces like the ground, ice or a court and objects like a hockey ball, hockey puck or a lactose stick can cause a concussion.

Know the Symptoms of a Concussion

While the symptoms of a concussion might be mild and seem short term one should never make the mistake of ignorance. These might be or might not be noticeable for hours or days.

Common symptoms include a headache, difficulty in remembering and confusion, dizziness and feeling groggy, having mood swings, emotional irritability and feeling down, sleeping problems, nausea, doubled or blurry vision, and vomiting and the loss of consciousness and fainting.

Immediate Steps

If one has any of the mentioned symptoms or a doubt that they might be having a concussion, then the immediate step is to leave the rest of the game and immediately seek professional medical care.

After having a careful check-up if the professional decides everything is alright then it is okay to go back to their respective game. Otherwise, patiently and wisely following the advice and suggestion of the doctor is the best step to follow.

Delaying the treatment of a concussion can lead to a longer time to heal, cause a delay in the return to continue with their respective sport and prove to be dangerous as well. One important factor to keep in mind when under recovery is the notion of repeated concussions.

Repeated concussions are more likely to take place and can increase the probability of slow recovery and long-term health problems. It has been seen in the case of young athletes repeated concussions can even lead to the swelling of their brain or a permanent damage that might prove to be fatal as well.

During the recovery strenuous activities like studying, working, playing video games and others that require the stress of mind and concentration should be avoided since it can invite the symptoms back to reappear and get worse.

Conclusion

With the research and study of the effects of a brain in the light of recent years, scientists are yet to find a solid conclusion and solution for their study results. As far as it has been studied, the extent of the importance of the matters is still easy to understand.

Therefore, one should practice, the provided guidelines to avoid any unnecessary health adversity that may prove to be a hindrance in the career of the young athlete. Scientists are yet to find the exact location of a concussion when it occurs.

While MRI and a CT scan are yet to determine the diagnosis of a concussion, information on the occurrence of symptoms can easily help a doctor diagnose a concussion and suggest the best solution there is for the treatment and that is proper rest.

A brain injury requires the proper rest of one’s brain in order to avoid any stress, increase the blood level and help in the treatment of the proper brain recovery. Therefore, a timely planned rest is imperative.

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