Concussion / Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

concussion / Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

What is a Concussion?

According to “Heads Up”  put out by the Centers for Disease control and Prevention  a concussion it is a complex pathophysiologic process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head. MTBI is caused by a blow or jolt (whiplash) to the head that disrupts the function of the brain. There rarely is any loss of consciousness and there is no structural or anatomical damage. In other words there is no swelling or bruising of the brain. This may occur directly from a direct blow to the skull or indirectly from whiplash.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

The signs and symptoms of a concussion/MTBI are put into four categories:
• Physical
• Cognitive
• Emotional
• Sleep

• Headaches
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Balance problems
• Dizziness
• Visual problems
• Fatigue
• Sensitivity to light
• Sensitivity to noise
• Numbness / tingling
• Dazed or stunned

• Feeling mentally foggy
• Feeling slowed down
• Difficulty concentrating
• Difficulty remembering
• Forgetful of recent information or conversations
• Confused about recent events
• Answers questions slowly
• Repeats questions

• Irritability
• Sadness
• More emotional
• Nervousness

• Drowsiness
• Sleeping less than usual
• Sleeping more than usual
• Trouble falling asleep

These symptoms may occur 24-48 hours to a week later. It is always important to ask “What happened?” If the individual does not remember then ask someone who was with them!

How Long Does it Take for Concussion Symptoms to Resolve

No one MTBI/ Concussion is the same. It can take minutes, days, weeks, months and in few cases longer.
What we know now is that just resting is not good enough. Most concussions have soft tissue neck involvement.

Signs of Deteriorating  Neurological Function

If any of the following occurs then the individual needs to seek medical immediately or call 911!

• Headaches worsen
• Seizures
• Looks very drowsy or can’t be awakened
• Repeated vomiting
• Slurred speech
• Can’t recognize people or places
• Increasing confusion or irritability
• Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
• Neck pain
• Unusual behavior
• Significant irritability
• any loss of consciousness greater than 30 seconds

Management of a Concussion

This depends on the strength of symptoms.
• Immediate Removal from Activity – 911 may need to be called
• Limited or no time on cell phones, computers, tablets
• Limited or no TV, play station, Xbox
• Limited or no school
• Increased rest and limited exertion key to recovery
• School first Sport second
• NO PRESCRPTION or NON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS without Medical supervision! – Sleeping pills, anti-inflammatory medication, sedating pain killers.

Return to play Guidelines

The individual must be symptom free for 24 hours and must pass the SCAT3 or SCAT3 Child to begin this process.
• No Activity – Rest – Must be 24 hours symptom free to start next step!
• Light Aerobic Exercise – HR
• Sport Specific Exercise – Movement
• Non-Contact Training Drills- Coordination
• Full contact practice – Confidence and Function
• Return to Play
Each step occurs if there are no issues after the previous step. If there are symptoms then the individual must wait 24 hours and start with the first step.

Book here at Podium Performance Centre Newmarket for a concussion assessment and a rehabilitation program tailored to your needs.

Find out more about our Concussion Management Centre and we can help you or you someone you know who has a concussion.


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