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From the Trainer’s Room: Learn how to be aware, recognize signs, symptoms of concussions

 

cp head shot 2016Over the last 10-15 years, concussions have become a hot topic in youth and professional sports, and for just cause.

The media is constantly showing violent hits in the NFL, NHL and other sports and the results of the hits are being shown more and more. Recent involvement by the NFL Players Association as well as many others, have sparked medical research and education into concussions and the long-term effects they may cause.

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This movement has sparked many changes in the way concussions are handled and will greatly benefit an athlete’s health not only today, but in the future.

A concussion is a traumatic injury to the brain that alters mental status or causes other symptoms. Concussions can be caused by a direct blow to the head or an indirect blow to the body that can violently shake the head. When a concussion occurs, the brain typically is accelerated quickly and can make contact with the inside of the skull causing a bruise or can be twisted or stretched causing a dysfunction of normal brain activity.

Many concussions are often overlooked because athletes think “they just got their bell rung” or “didn’t get knocked out” or “just have a headache.”

So, how do you know if you have a concussion? First you need to look for signs and symptoms of a concussion. The more common ones include appearing dazed or confused, headache, dizziness, balance difficulties, visual problems, such as blurriness or double vision, short- or long-term memory difficulties such as not remembering the play that just occurred, the score of the game or what they had for breakfast, drowsiness, just not feeling right, sensitivity to light or noise and difficulty concentrating.

If any of these signs or other symptoms occur following a collision, a concussion should be assumed, and the athlete should be held out of participation and referred to a qualified physician for proper diagnosis and management.

Chris Phillips is an athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist with over 20 years’ experience in professional hockey, football and soccer. He is the owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Orange County.

(Dec. 9, 2019)