What exactly is a concussion? While often referred to as simply “getting your bell rung,” a concussion is a form of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). A concussion is commonly defined today as the instant but temporary neurological damage, including but not limited to loss of consciousness or impaired vision, memory, or equilibrium, caused by direct or indirect force applied to the head. Delayed effects of a concussion may include fatigue, tinnitus, irritability, depression, problems academically, inability to carry out daily tasks, and sleep and eating abnormalities. Concussions can be caused by bumps or blows to the head that result in abnormal brain function. They can also be caused by jolts to the body that cause the head to whip in any direction. The brain then slams into the walls of the cranium causing damage. Although classified as “mild” traumatic brain injury, concussions can be very severe. They can result in permanent damage to the brain with life-long debilitating effects especially when multiple concussions have occurred. Concussions usually lead to functional disturbances but may not lead to structural injury so no irregularities are seen on standard structural neuroimaging studies. This lack of detection often times leads people to a false perception of being healthy and a premature return to the playing field. A concussion is brain damage and should not be taken lightly.
This video is an easy way to learn the basics about concussions:
Watch what happens to the brain with impact. It is important to note that the head does not
need to hit an object to be damaged. Violent and sudden jolting of the skull can also produce an concussion.