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Concussion Facts: Did you know?

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a sudden blow to the head or body. It can change the way your brain normally works. It can happen even if you haven't been knocked out and even if you are wearing a helmet. 

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

  • Headache or “pressure”in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Bothered by light
  • Bothered by noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion

How widespread are concussions?

  • Current research suggests that there are approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million recreational and sport-related concussions each year in the U.S. and the number of people being treated for these injuries has increased greatly in recent years.
  • Most concussions happen in collision sports (i.e. football, wrestling, hockey), however, a concussion can be sustained in any sport and at any level of competition. Therefore, ALL those that are involved in athletics (i.e. players, coaches, parents, officials, etc.) need to have a general knowledge of concussions and be aware of their signs/symptoms.

Facts about diagnosis:

  • Immediate removal from practice or competition after sustaining a concussion (or if a concussion is suspected) is a MUST.
  • A concussion is an "invisible" injury. It cannot be seen. The only way to check for a concussion is by assessing the signs and symptoms and performing functional testing such as ImPACT testing, balance testing, occulomotor testing, etc.
  • Most sport-related concussions (more than 90%) occur without loss of consciousness.
  • Just because imaging of the head (MRI/CT) is negative, does not mean a concussions was not sustained.
  • Signs/symptoms of a concussion may not show up until several hours or days after the injury occurs.
  • Neurocognitive testing, such as ImPACT testing, is not meant to be tool to diagnose concussions. It also should not be used as a substitute a thorough medical evaluation/treatment. It is only one of the tools used to assess for a concussion. An athlete who is suspected of having a concussion should always be evaluated by a licensed healthcare provider before being cleared to return to activity.

Facts about recovery:

  • Research suggests that 80-90% of concussions will resolve within 7-10 days; however some athletes who sustain a concussion may have symptoms that last for weeks, months, or even longer
  • Kids generally require longer recovery time after sustaining a concussion due to the fact that their brains are still developing.
  • After suffering a concussion, an athlete is 3-6 times more susceptible to suffer another concussion compared to an athlete who has not suffered a concussion.
  • An estimated 40% of athletes are returning to play sooner than current guidelines would suggest. An athlete should not return to play until cleared by a licensed health care provider trained and experienced in the evaluation and management of concussions.
  • If an athlete is not fully healed from the first concussion and suffers a second concussion, recovery can be prolonged or the likelihood of having long-lasting effects can occur. In very rare cases, brain swelling, permanent brain damage, and even death can occur.

Need help or what to learn more? 

Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine provides concussion management for all individuals who participate activities where there is a risk for concussion.

Contact a location near you:

Aberdeen (605) 226-5500
Bemidji (218) 333-5000
Bismarck (701) 323-6837
Fargo (701) 237-9712
Sioux Falls (605) 328-2663 - Certified ImPACT™ consultant site