Traumatic Brain Injuries:
Well known in Sports Medicine concussions are the most common forms of traumatic brain injuries and may result in such symptoms as temporary losses of brain functionings, as well as cognitive, emotional, and physical ailments, that may last as long as three weeks or longer, and repeated concussions can result in Dementia Pugilistica, a neurodegenerative disease often associated with professional fighters, Second-Impact Syndrome with rapid brain swellings, and other cumulative brain damages.
Although it remains unclear whether or not concussions cause structural damages to the brain concussions may be the result of such things as battlefield engagements, accidents, falls, sports injuries, and blows to the head that interfere with cellular brain processes, and neuroimaging typically does not show any structural changes to the brain because of concussions.
Concussions have been defined by the International Olympic Committe Medical Commission’s Concussion In Sport Group as “a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain that is induced by traumatic biomechanical forces,” and by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence as “maybe involving a physiological or physical disruption in the brain’s synapses,” through which neurons travel to such locations as glands and muscles.
Medically classified as a mild traumatic brain injury concussions are not associated with such ailments as subdural hematomas, intracranial hemorrhages, epidural hematomas, or intra-axial hematomas, and remain in the middle of the loss of consciousness controvery surrounding its definition, which may also include cases of amnesia.
There are at least forty systems that measure the severity of concussions with the American Academy of Neurology Guidelines, the Cantu Guidelines, and the Colorado Medical Society Guidelines most frequently followed dividing the severity of concussions into three main categories consisting of Grade One Concussions, the most common form, with symptoms ranging from no loss of consciousness, to confusion lasting less than fifteen minutes, to posttraumatic amnesia of less than thirty minutes, Grade Two Concussions with a range of symptoms lasting more than fifteen minutes, and less than five minutes of unconsciousness, to confusion, and posttraumatic amnesia lasting longer than thirty minutes, and Grade Three Severe Concussions with symptoms ranging from loss of consciousness, to amnesia for more than twenty-four hours, to various states of coma.
Signs of concussions may include such things as severe headaches, dizziness, lack of motor coordination, difficulty balancing, movement problems, light sensitivities, blurred vision, double vision, Tinnitus, ringing in the ears, convulsions, disorientation, attention focusing problems, loss of consciousness, posttraumatic amnesia, slurred speech, restlessness, lethargy, irritabilities, loss of interest in favorite items or activities, altered mental states, bleeding and deafness in the ears, weaknesses in the extremities, memory losses, neurophysiological changes, psychiatric disorders, long-term memory losses, Post-Concussion Syndrome where symptoms may not disappear for years after a concussion and can become a permanent medical condition, and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease after three or more concussions.
Concussions may be diagnosed through such measures as duration of unconsciousness, neurological examinations, physical examinations, posttraumatic amnesia, the Glasgow Coma Scale, neuropsychological tests, CT Scans, MRIs, SPECT Nuclear Imaging Tests, PET Scans, and EEGs.
By gradually returning to normal daily activities at a slow pace many concussion symptoms fade away without any treatments and rest. Pain relievers may be taken for symptoms as needed while recovering from most concussions, and alcohol and non-doctor prescribed medications should be avoided. Patients should be observed, and follow-up medical care saught within seventy-two hours after receiving the concussion, should the symptoms worsen.
This Article was compiled from several websites that provide much more information about concussions including: