How to Recover from a Sports-Related Head Injury

Many high contact sports like football, boxing or hockey come with the risk of serious injury because they are considered rough sports with competitors tackling, punching or slamming each other to win. Other sports such as biking, basketball or skateboarding are also at high risk for head injuries even when there is no immediate, full contact from other players during competitive play.

concussion injury to brain

Prevention

Concussions are one of the biggest injuries sustained during both competitive, full contact sports and individual sport competitions where a fall may risk a head injury. Many sports require the use of helmets. Football, hockey and biking are a few that require the use of helmets during competition. Soccer players need to use their heads for playing, but they must do it in an appropriate way to avoid injury. Boxers must learn to keep their hands up and compete in a way that protects their heads from injury.

Signs

When a player has taken a serious blow to the head, other players on the field and coaches must be aware of the signs of a concussion, so that the player can be evaluated to see if they need medical attention. Headaches, nausea and decreased coordination along with weakness or numbness in any portion of the body is a sign of a concussion. The player should be taken out of the game to reduce the chance of further injury.

Symptoms

A concussion can be mild causing a headache and mild dizziness or can be potentially life threatening. The symptoms that require medical attention are unconsciousness, seizure, slurred speech, pupils of different sizes or confusion.

Unfortunately, most players will try to play through pain, headaches and other signs of a concussion. This is especially true in team sports where the level of competition is high. Coaches will often send players back into the game even when the player should be examined by a health care professional. This puts the player at risk for another injury which could be severe. Players should be aware of when they are at risk for further injury and take the time needed to recover whether that is a few minutes, hours or weeks.

Sometimes, players will seem to recover quickly and be well enough to continue playing and later more serious problems will become evident. Most players will have a concussion at some point, and multiple concussions can be a serious issue.

Grades

The American Journal of Clinical Medicine suggests that concussions be based on grades for easier classification then be monitored and treated according to how serious the injury was.

Grade 1 concussion

This is considered a concussion that leads to altered mental status like dizziness, headache or weakness and lasts less than 15 minutes. The player should be taken out of the game and monitored for 15 minutes. They should visit their doctor at a later date and have no symptoms for at least a week before returning to the sport.

Grade 2 concussion

A concussion is considered grade 2 when the altered mental status lasts longer than 15 minutes, but the player does not lose consciousness. The player should be taken out of play immediately and should see a doctor. The player should be without symptoms for at least a month before returning to the sport.

Grade 3 concussion

A grade 3 is when a player loses consciousness for any amount of time at all. The player should be immediately brought to the hospital where hospital personnel will administer a scan to check the internal brain injuries.

Recovery time

The recovery time is based on the level or grade of injury and the area that the injury occurred. It is dependent on the physical condition of the player and their age. It could take a few hours to several weeks to fully recover from any brain injury.

Recovery process

While recovering, the player does not have to stop all physical activity. Initially, the player will want to rest until the immediate symptoms like pain and dizziness have left. After that, the player can return to light exercising at the gym and then to progressively harder exercise as long as they are feeling up to it. If they are feeling better, the player can then slowly ease back into full contact training then to the sport itself.

Brenda Panin

Brenda is a passionate blogger and a regular contributor to several health blogs. In her free time she loves to write about fitness and healthy living.

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