Concussions are brain injuries that can occur due to a traumatic blow to the head. This can happen during sports or any incident that causes the person’s head to jolt violently.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion is very important for anyone involved in sports. A person with a concussion requires prompt medical attention and appropriate care.
In this article, we will explain the most common signs and symptoms of a concussion and discuss the immediate response to take when confronted with this sports injury.
Signs and Symptoms of Concussion
Observe the person for some of the most common signs or symptoms of a concussion, including:
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- A dazed appearance
- A mild or severe headache
- Feeling off-balance, dizzy, or experiencing issues with coordination
- Blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light, or difficulty focusing
- Slurred speech
- Feeling nauseous or vomiting
- Delayed response to questions
- Difficulty remembering recent events or forgetfulness
Patients can experience symptoms several days after the injury, such as:
- Difficulty with memory and concentration
- Irritability, depression, and changes in personality
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Impaired or changes in taste and smell
It is not always apparent how serious the injury is at first just based on the patient’s symptoms. A medical provider or sports medicine doctor who specializes in sports injuries can assess the severity of a patient’s brain injury.
Immediate Responses to a Possible Concussion
Proper treatment is essential to prevent long-term brain damage from a concussion. The goal of treatment is to facilitate healing and help the individual safely regain normal function and safely return to their sport.
If you suspect someone has sustained a concussion, you need to respond quickly:
1. Stop and remove from activity
If the individual is engaged in physical activity when the concussion occurs, they should immediately stop and avoid any further activity.
2. Assess the individual’s cognitive status
Here are some quick cognitive tests to assess the patient’s condition post-injury:
- Where are you right now?
- What month is it?
- How many fingers am I holding up?
- Can you touch your nose with a finger on your right hand?
3. Get the Patient in a Comfortable Position
Get the patient on his or her back with the head and shoulders slightly elevated. Apply a cold compress on the area of injury.
4. Seek Medical Attention
Concussion care should only be provided by a qualified medical provider. Consult a healthcare professional, such as a sports medicine doctor, for a proper evaluation of the injury. They will be able to assess the severity of the brain injury and provide appropriate guidance for the patient’s recovery.
Following a suspected concussion, it is very important for the patient to rest both physically and mentally. This means avoiding activities that stimulate the brain and requires concentration or physical exertion, as well as limiting exposure to screens and loud noises. The brain will heal eventually, provided the patient follows rest protocol.
6. Observe for Worsening Symptoms
Keep a close eye on the individual’s symptoms for the first 48 hours after the injury. If the patient’s symptoms worsen or new symptoms arise days after the incident, inform your doctor.
7. Follow the Sports Doctor’s Advice
Follow the doctor’s advice regarding the patient’s recovery plan. This may include recommendations on rest and activity restrictions. Athletes with lingering concussion symptoms should not return to sport and should comply with “return to play” laws, which consists of adhering to a structured 5-step progression plan.
8. Communicate with School or Workplace
If the individual is a student or employee or athlete, inform relevant authorities about the concussion to ensure appropriate accommodation can be made and support is provided for the patient during recovery.
Sports Injury Doctor for Concussion Treatment in North Dakota
The sports medicine department at The Bone & Joint Center provides comprehensive support for athletes with sports injuries and those who are looking to enhance their performance. We are highly experienced in treating many sports injuries, including concussions. We cannot stress enough the importance of a concussion evaluation to get the appropriate treatment for the patient.
For any questions or to schedule an appointment with a sports medicine doctor, call our office today at (701) 946-7400 / (866) 900-8650 or use our online request form. We look forward to being your partner in sports medicine care in North Dakota.