Concussions: Here's what you should know this football season

Concussions: Here's what you should know this football season

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Recently, there has been a lot of conversation surrounding concussions, but how much does the typical person actually know about the injury? Dr. Aaron Karlin, Director of Ochsner Health System's Concussion Management Program, fills us in on the symptoms, common misconceptions, and preventative measures we can take to lower the risk for this serious injury.

What are the most common symptoms of a concussion?

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or imbalance
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise,
  • Difficulty sleeping and difficulty concentrating
  • More serious symptoms include seizures, repeated vomiting, slurred speech, and declining mental status are reasons to head straight to the emergency room

What are some common misconceptions about concussions?

One popular misconception is the belief that you have to be "knocked out" to get a concussion. Only 20 percent of those who experience concussions actually lose consciousness, so it's especially important to be aware of the symptoms.

Another topic that is not so much a misconception, but rather, simply isn't addressed frequently enough, is the concussion risk for the "active adult" or "weekend warrior" community. Adults who engage in high-velocity sports or activities with high interval cardiovascular demand are all at an elevated risk to suffer a concussion. These activities include biking, horseback riding, pickup sports like basketball or flag football, climbing or hiking, and rollerblading

What should you do if you think you or your child have suffered a concussion?

It is important stop playing immediately. Go see a medical provider specialized in concussion management who can perform a full evaluation that includes a baseline ImPACT concussion test to evaluate things like memory, concentration, reaction time, and cognitive processing speed. It's also essential that those of all ages take the proper time to recover after a concussion, and do not return to play until being cleared by a specialized medical provider. Repeated head injuries before adequate brain healing can be very serious.

What else should people know about concussions?

Not all concussions are preventable, but wearing the appropriate gear and joining a league that values fair play, safety, and sportsmanship certainly help. Be aware of the warning signs, and most importantly – when in doubt, sit out. It's better to miss one game or activity than to have lasting issues.

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