PT Tip of the Week – Symptoms and signs of Concussions.

“As you all know football is in full swing, and here in the south we love our football.  In recent years, we have learned a great deal about concussions and the dangers associated with them.  Concussions are a VERY serious problem and should NEVER be taken lightly.  It’s important as a player, coach, parent or friend to be aware of what a concussion is, some of the signs and symptoms, and what to do if you see any of these signs.

Briefly, a concussion can occur when there is a high impact to the head or a sudden stop in motion which causes a whiplash effect.  This causes the brain to collide with the inside of the skull which in turn causes bruising.  It is important to note, while helmets and protective gear help, there is absolutely no way to completely prevent concussions because there is no way to pad the inside of the skull.

Concussion signs and symptoms can be glaring and obvious or very subtle, but all should be taken seriously because of the dangers associated with them.  If you suspect a possible concussion here are a few things to look for:

** Worsening, Severe Headache

** Decreasing Alertness or Loss of Consciousness

** Vomiting

** Weakness of One Side of the Body

** Large, Dilated Pupil in One Eye

** Seizure or Convulsive Fit

The person should be awakened every 2-3 hours during the first 12-24 hours to check for any of these signs.  If any of these signs develop, call or go to the emergency department.

If you are diagnosed with a concussion you should always follow your physician’s specific instructions but as a general rule:

** Rest

** No Alcohol

** No Physical Activity Until Cleared by Physician

Football is a fun game to play and is very entertaining to watch, but it is also a high impact sport and, unfortunately, injuries are common.  It’s important to be aware of the common injuries and how to prevent them as best we can.  Be safe, play with integrity, and good luck to all our high school and college athletes.”

– This article was written by Josh Davis, PT at Encore Rehab in Hayden, AL.

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