A Deadly Gamble
Concussions are a form of brain injury that should not be taken lightly. The after effects of a concussion, post concussive syndrome, can linger for days or weeks. Concussions are an unfortunate side effect of collision sports such as football and hockey. They range in severity from the minor (“he just had his bell rung”) to major life threatening brain contusions (“he was knocked smooth out”).
A concussion is defined as a clinical syndrome characterized by immediate and transient posttraumatic impairment of neural function owing to mechanical forces. A concussion occurs when the body is moving rapidly through space and suddenly stops. Keep in mind that the brain is traveling at the same velocity as the rest of the body. When the body suddenly stops, the brain continues to move at the same velocity in the same direction. The brain then hits the skull and bounces back, hitting the opposite side of the skull until it looses momentum. This occurs due to the fact that the brain is floating in cerebral spinal fluid, and does not actually touch the skull.
When the brain strikes the skull, a portion of it is damaged. When enough damage is done, it begins to operate improperly. This is when the outsider notices the symptoms of the concussion. The affects of these repeated blows to the brain are cumulative, that is, one blow intensifies the effects of the previous. Because of this, an athlete may take what appears to be a slight blow to the head or body and then show the symptoms of the concussion.
It is estimated that there are over 250,000 concussions per year in football alone. In football, concussions account for 19% of the total injuries yearly. When looking at all injuries to high school athletes, concussions represent 4.5% of the injuries for the year.
©2000 - 2009 David Edell
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Last Update for AthleticAdvisor.com: 10/24/2009 12:09:35 AM