Concussion, A Prettier Word for Traumatic Brain Injury
Today I saw my first football player of the season with a concussion. There will be several over the next several weeks, each one of varying severity, all detrimental to the long term health of the brain.
When the brain is damaged (aka concussion) by trauma, these are frequent symptoms:
Loss of Consciousness
The normal, healthy brain uses self-made chemicals to perform it's work. Proper chemical balance allows the brain to function at it's best. After a TBI, the brain's function cannot be maintained due to a change in these chemicals.
Though we frequently hear of concussion, it is not to be taken lightly; it IS brain damage, after all. The brain needs quiet, down time to heal. Without adequate rest, the brain will continue to suffer with a lack of proper message transmission.
Don't take concussion for granted. It is a serious injury to the brain and can prevent the brain from developing normally in children and adolescents.
A second TBI or traumatic event before the brain has returned to normal chemistry can be disastrous. Brain cell death is likely if there are 2 injuries within 4 weeks of each other. If this alarms you, I've reached my goal. Concussion is not to be taken lightly.
If you love an athlete, keep these symptoms in mind. It's imperative that the brain is given enough time to heal after such an injury. Just because someone is able to perform after an injury doesn't mean it is in their best interest. If your athlete has been injured by concussion and is still training, please be sure they don't continue to train if any change in symptom arises such as this is a warning that the brain's chemistry is altered. Don't let a coach, another parent or your child convince you they are fine and ready to play. You care the most for your child and want to make a decision in their long term best interest.
How Traumatic Does an Injury Need to Be to Cause Permanent Damage?
That's the million dollar question, and the reason you can't be too careful in the management of your child's concussion. Though younger people recover faster than adults, they are also more at risk for delays in development of the brain. Some research shows that brains which have been concussed (in the past) show less ability to adapt in positive ways to enriching environments. For example, the brains ability to learn and remember in an educational setting has shown to be diminished, maybe permanently.
Concussion shouldn't be taken lightly. Be sure to talk to your chiropractor about how adjustments and supplementation can help your child heal faster and more completely.