Contemporary research studying injuries among athletes suggests that concussions may be more dangerous than we may have ever anticipated. Although our skulls are rock solid structures, the brain inside it is soft. When the head incurs a severe hit, the brain can violently slam against the skull walls, leading to swelling or potential bleeds

Many high-profile athletes have filed lawsuits against their employers, blaming them for the degenerative effects of repeated concussions.

Concussions are serious injuries and need to be treated so. But many individuals find it hard to detect a concussion from other types of minor head trauma.

Signs of a Concussion

Many concussion symptoms tend to exhibit themselves long after the initial injury. However, there are several symptoms that can manifest themselves almost immediately. Be sure to look for the following signs:

Physical symptoms

  • Blackout
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Tinnitus
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Poor motor coordination and balance
  • Large or uneven pupil size
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Scalp bleeding

Cognitive symptoms

  • Disorientation
  • Poor focus or concentration
  • Feeling dazed
  • Memory issues
  • Restlessness
  • Mood changes
  • Irritability
  • Feeling lazy or fatigued
  • Incoherent or slurred speech patterns

How do doctors detect concussions?

Many doctors use the AVPU technique to help with a concussion diagnosis.

‘A’ stands for alert: Is the patient aware of their surroundings? Are they present in the moment?

‘V’ stands for voice: Can the patient hold a conversation? Can they communicate effectively or need help?

‘P’ stands for pain: Does the patient respond to painful stimuli?

‘U’ stands for unresponsiveness: Is the patient not responding to visual, auditory or sensory stimuli?

Providing first aid to concussion victims

It’s not worth the risk to wait until a doctor examines a concussion victim to put forth a diagnosis. If you or someone you know has experienced serious head trauma, it’s best to practice some precautionary measures, until of course; you get in touch with professional help.

Do not move: Head and spinal injuries tend to have a statistically significant correlation. The slightest jolt can worsen conditions or turn out to be fatal. It’s best to keep the person immobilised until medical help is received.

Ice the swollen area(s): Apply an ice pack to the injured area after every 3-hour interval. Do not press too hard or apply the ice onto bare skin.

Avoid pain killers: The victim may experience severe headaches resulting from the concussion; try not to take over the counter medication because some medicines like Ibuprofen can increase the risk of internal bleeding.

Monitor the victim: In some cases, a victim may seem alright in the start but may begin to showcase concussion symptoms after a few hours. Keep the victim conscious by asking them small questions like their name or how they’re feeling.

If the concussion victim is unconscious then check their vitals without moving them around. Perform CPR without jostling the head and wait for medical help.

Sports and Exercise Medicine Institute is a sports medicine clinic based in the greater Toronto area. We specialize in sports medicine services and offer concussion management, pelvic physiotherapy and PRP injections among other treatments.

You can book an appointment at one of our clinics in Thornhill, St. Claire or Sheppard.