Sport-related concussions (SRCs) are a serious issue in today’s sports but can be very difficult to diagnose and manage since due to its unpredictable nature. An SRC refers to the instance when an external force causes a direct blow to the body, with a resultant force being transmitted to the head. This form of traumatic brain injury can cause the nerve cells in the brain to go through a lot of stress, which may alter neurological functions. The science behind SRCs is also consistently evolving, but there are some key things to remember when it comes to understanding concussions of such nature.
A patient need not lose his consciousness for the incident to be legitimately considered a concussion. When trying to diagnose SRCs, MRI or CT scans may not be as helpful as one might think due to the chance of false positives. Additionally, someone suffering from SRC may not overtly look like they are experiencing it. While an athlete may seem perfectly fine on the outside, he might still be facing difficulties in concentrating or making decisions.
A person suspected of having an SRC needs to be closely monitored as symptoms can occur and change rapidly within the first couple of hours. One may experience instability when walking, lose focus, be overly emotional, and feel drowsy or nauseous.
People who are not medically trained can refer to the Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT5) when trying to identify an SRC. While it is not a substitute for aprofessional medical diagnosis, it can be a good gauge in times of emergency where a doctor or medical crew might not be on hand.
Sports such as ice hockey, football, wrestling, basketball, snowboarding and rugby carry a higher risk of SRCs due to their full-contact nature. In order to prevent such incidents, it is important to wear helmets, mouth guards and other protective gear where applicable. Sports players should ideally undergo contact training as well in order to better prepare them for the rigours of training and competition.
No two cases of SRCs are the same. This is true even if the same person receives multiple concussions. While athletes and coaches should seek to prevent SRCs from happening, it is even more imperative that they be adequately prepared in the event of an incident.