With spring sports being in full swing, the Allentown Health Bureau wants to remind everyone – coaches, players, parents and officials, of the dangers of concussions. Concussions have become an epidemic in the United States, with millions of mild traumatic brain injuries happening each year.
The Allentown Health Bureau is offering in-person educational sessions to promote understanding and identification of concussions, specifically in young athletes. Called “Concussion Wise,” these sessions last 90 minutes and are free to any interested group. To schedule a training for your organization, please contact Injury Prevention Manager David Synnamon at the Allentown Health Bureau at 610-437-7598.
According to a poll by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, nearly 9 out of 10 adults in the U.S. can’t correctly define a concussion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a concussion as “a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.”
“A blow to the head should be taken seriously,” said Synnamon. “This program is excellent for youth coaches and parents who on most occasions are the first person to rush to the aid of an injured child.”
Up to 50% of concussions go undiagnosed and untreated. Symptoms commonly last 7-10 days, and include any one or more of the following: headache, confusion, difficulty remembering or paying attention, balance problems or dizziness, feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy, feeling irritable, more emotional, or “down,” nausea or vomiting, bothered by light or noise, double or blurry vision, slowed reaction time, sleep problems, or loss of consciousness. However, for some people concussion symptoms can persist much longer; this is called Post-Concussion Syndrome and can last for weeks, months or even years making life extraordinarily difficult for the affected person.
All concussions are a brain injury and whether mild or severe should be taken seriously. Culturally, many Americans view a concussion as no big deal, perhaps having been told themselves to “shake it off” or “play through it.” However, returning to situations where an injured person faces another potential blow to the head before a concussion fully heals can result in “Second Impact Syndrome” which can be serious and potentially life threatening.