As an athlete, being sidelined for a concussion can be difficult, especially when you want to help your team on the field. But an incident can be serious enough to lead to more than just missed playtime. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not it is time to get back in the game or to take your time with recovery.
Difficult to Diagnose
A concussion is defined as a mild form of traumatic brain injury. Concussions can be difficult to diagnose, as symptoms may vary from person to person and even from incident to incident within one individual.
However, there are four key signs that doctors look for:
- Amnesia before the injury.
- Loss of consciousness after the injury.
- Confusion following the injury.
- A change in mental status following the injury.
If any of these symptoms occur, it’s important not only to stop playing immediately but to seek professional help immediately as well.
Seek Professional Help Immediately After a Concussion
If any of the symptoms above occur, it’s important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Some people seem to recover quickly from concussions, but this isn’t always the case.
It’s also important to note that a person might not have any symptoms but later experience problems with thinking or memory functions. If a head injury was sustained after the first few weeks of a person’s life, there might not be visible signs on a computerized tomography (CT) scan, but there may be damage to the brain. This is why it’s important not to let anyone who has hit their head leave the scene of an accident without first seeking medical attention and being diagnosed and evaluated.
You’ll need to go to an urgent care facility after visiting the emergency room if this has happened to you. Often, emergency rooms might not be well equipped to diagnose a concussion correctly. On the other hand, urgent care facilities.
Concussions May Cause Chronic Problems
The majority of concussions (80-90%) heal within 7 to 10 days and allow an athlete to get back on the field. But there is a chance to develop chronic problems like post-concussion syndrome and second impact syndrome (SIS). Post-concussion syndrome involves the development of new symptoms that are unrelated to the original injury. SIS occurs when a second head injury is sustained within days or weeks of an earlier one.
Get Back in the Game: When Can You Return to Play?
If you sustain a concussion, it’s important to let your medical professional know your specific symptoms so that you can find out if it’s time to get back in the game. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following guidelines should be used when deciding if it’s safe to return to play:
- If you don’t experience any symptoms when you return to play, the CDC recommends that you only return when your health care provider gives you specific clearance.
- It is possible to be injured again after a concussion. Therefore It’s important only to return once your medical professional gives you the go-ahead and only after your concussion has completely healed.
But how is it possible to know if you’re ready? Here are some signs that you’re ready to return to play:
- You can remember what happened before, during, and after a head injury. For example, you know what type of play you were involved in and the circumstances that led up to it.
- Suppose you’re having any lingering symptoms (e.g., headaches, dizziness, light sensitivity). In that case, they must not interfere with your performance at practice or games (e.g., they do not prevent you from passing a ball).
- You can concentrate on your tasks and initiatives during practice and games. For example, you’re able to remember plays, which are often complex and require a great deal of mental concentration.
- You can sleep well at night without any concerns about headaches or insomnia.
- You can tolerate loud noises without any problems or concerns.
- Your coordination and balance are back to where they normally are (e.g., you can shoot a ball or run without tripping or wobbling).
- You can tolerate physical contact with other players during practice and games.
- You are free of any signs or symptoms of concussion. For example, you don’t have any headaches, dizziness, light sensitivity, or problems with your memory.
Concussions are a common injury among athletes, but they can be difficult to diagnose. If you’ve recently sustained one and don’t know if it is safe for you to return to play, these guidelines should help answer your questions. It may take time before the concussion symptoms subside completely after an incident has occurred, which is why it’s important not to push yourself too soon or risk getting reinjured. Make sure that you consult with your medical professional when deciding whether or not it’s safe for you to get back on the field.