A sports-related concussion is also referred to as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is a major cause of death and disability in America. Shockingly, many people in the United States die from injuries that include concussions. If you or your child has had a concussion, the effects may last a few days or the rest of your life if it is not cared for properly. (We will share more about proper care for concussions and why it’s so important later on in this article.) Concussions can include:
- Impaired thinking
- Memory problems
- Issues with movement
- Sensory problems — affecting vision and hearing
- Personality changes
- Mood swings
What Exactly Is a Concussion or a TBI?
A concussion is the end result of a blow, jolt, or bump to the head that causes the normal function of the brain to be disrupted. You will not get a concussion every time you endure a blow to the head, and they often range from mild to severe depending on the degree of symptoms.
Are Concussions Really a Big Problem?
Here are some statistics to show just what an impact concussions have:
- In the year 2013, around 2.8 billion visits to the emergency room, hospitalizations, and deaths in the USA had to do with concussions:
- Nearly 50,000 people died
- More than 282,000 were diagnosed with concussions
- Around 2.5 million visited the ER
- In 2012, approximately 329,290 children under the age of 19, were cared for at emergency departments for sports-related injuries, including concussions.
- From 2001 to 2012, the rates of emergency room visits doubled for sporting injuries with a diagnosis of concussions.
What Are the Leading Causes of Concussions?
- In the year 2013, falls were listed as the leading cause of concussions and TBI’s. These made up 47 percent of all TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.
- 54 percent were among children 0 to 14 years old
- 79 percent were in adults 65 and older
- Being struck by or against an object comes in as the second most common reason for concussions, making up 15 percent.
- 22 percent or more visits to the ER, hospitalizations, or deaths were in children under the age of 15
- Motor vehicle crashes are the third reason for concussions, with 14 percent being impacted
How Sports-Related Concussions Impact High School Athletes
Sadly, a number of deaths related to these type of concussions have been seen in recent years and could have been avoided. The subject is being brought to the forefront now more than ever. One thing that has been recognized as a huge help to those with this condition is to visit a local upper cervical chiropractor.
It is normal for kids to play rough and want to show off what skills they have. This makes it imperative for parents and coaches to keep a close eye on them and not allow any small bump on the head go uncared for. It is important for supervisors to be well informed about the types of injuries that can occur and what symptoms to look for. These can include:
- Slow verbal responses
- Behavioral or personality changes
- Forgetting things such as the rules of the game, the score, or who the opponent is
- Loss of consciousness
- Lack of coordination
- Inappropriate emotions
High School Athletes More Vulnerable to Concussions
A recent study from the National Academy of Sciences has discovered that high schoolers that are involved in sports have a higher risk of getting concussions. They also may be sabotaging their chances of recovering from their concussion by not wanting to report it and resisting care plans.
Another interesting finding in the study pointed to girls who play soccer and basketball as having more concussions than boys. In fact, overall, girls have a higher rate of getting concussions, with women’s ice hockey having the highest rate.
In addition, it was found that after a player has had one concussion, he or she is likely to have another one. The report also went on to explain that sporting equipment, including helmets, did little to help with the risk of concussions. Certain brands of equipment did not test out better than any other one.
Finding the Right Help for Your Child’s Concussion
A great place to begin if you suspect your child may have endured a concussion is by bringing him or her here to Providence Chiropractic in Edmonton, Alberta. We have been specially trained to find the tiny misalignments in the upper cervical spine that are often associated with blows from concussions. The C1 and C2 vertebrae are susceptible to misaligning due to their location and their ability to allow the head a great range of mobility. It only takes a mild blow to move these bones out of alignment. When this happens, the brainstem is put under pressure. This can lead to a number of health problems as the brainstem begins to malfunction and send improper signals to the brain about the body.
In order to correct this type of misalignment, we use a gentle procedure that does not cause the child additional pain. In fact, it is very safe for children, even infants. We do not pop or crack the spine or neck to get the desired positive results. Rather, we encourage the bones of the neck to move back into place more naturally. This leads to a longer-lasting adjustment, requiring fewer visits to our office later on.
Even if you are not sure if your child has endured a concussion, it is a good idea to bring him in for a consultation so we can make sure he or she is in the best health possible.