Concussion can be mild, moderate or severe. It is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces.
Simply put concussion is an injury to the brain caused by impact against the skull. It can often involve a loss of consciousness but does not in all cases.
The symptoms of concussion can vary depending on severity of injury. We examine the difference in symptoms between mild concussion, moderate concussion and severe concussion.
Mild concussion symptoms?
The symptoms of a mild concussion are slight mental confusion with possibly some memory loss. Mild tinitus or ringing in the hear may be heard along with mild dizziness or headache. There is likely to be pain in the area of contact or impact. The athlete will however have normal balance and will not have lost consciousness from a mild concussion.
Moderate concussion symptoms
Symptoms will include mental confusion with post traumatic memory loss. Moderate tinitus or ringing in the ears may be heard with moderate dizziness or headache. Balance may be impaired and the player may experience nausea or vomiting. Loss of consciousness may happen but will be no longer than 5 minutes.
Severe head concussion will likely result in mental confusion lasting 5 minutes or more. Severe ringing in the ears or tinitus may be experienced. Prolonged loss of memory of events before the accident may occur. Loss of consciousness for more than 5 minutes is possible along with an increase in blood pressure and a decrease in heart rate.
- The athlete should be removed from the competition immediately and should not be left alone.
- Professional medical advice and evaluation should be done.
- Avoid contact or collision sports for at least 3 weeks.
- Repeated concussions may indicate retirement from contact sports altogether.
What About Returning to Sport?
- This should be a gradual process and should be done under the supervision of qualified people. When the athlete does not have any symptoms then they may be able to do light exercise, stationary cycling or walking.
- The next step is to to do sports specific activity without contact for or example running. If there are any symptoms returning then take a step back.
- Next step is on field practice without contact. Again, any symptoms indicate a return to the previous stage.
- When a medical doctor has given the go ahead onfield practice with contact can begin. The time taken to get to this stage will depend on the severity of the concussion.
Post concussion syndrome
Post concussion syndrome is a complication of concussion with symptoms which occur after the main symptoms of concussion have gone. If the athlete experiences and strange symptoms such as loss of taste or smell, anxiety or depression among a number of potential symptoms then seek medical advice.