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Concussion

Poster from the movie Concussion

The Brain Injury Association of Michigan first launched our statewide Concussion Awareness Program in conjunction with the 2015 Christmas day opening of the movie, “Concussion.” The movie, starring Will Smith, is based on the true story of Dr. Bennett Omalu, the forensic pathologist who discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of deceased former National Football League players, and the NFL’s attempts to discredit his findings.

When in doubt, sit them out!

BIAMI – in association with several strategic partners – has coordinated a multi-faceted campaign to educate and inform parents, coaches and young athletes about both the real dangers and the current misconceptions circulating around this highly sensitive topic.

Concussions are brain injuries that are often downplayed or even stigmatized. We believe that everyone should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of brain injury, from coaches and athletes at every level, to parents and children not involved in sports. This is especially true for concussions and second impact syndrome.

Our goal is to highlight the importance of proper concussion identification, medical assessment, and careful management while also providing information that encourages ongoing sport participation, especially for kids.

What Is a Concussion? ↓

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow or jolt to the head or when the head or body are violently shaken. In either event, the brain hits the inside of the skull or is twisted inside the skull, resulting in damage to the brain cells. The video to the right shows how concussions occur.

Concussion can range from mild to severe and can disrupt or change the way the brain normally works. Even a "ding" or a bump to the head can be serious and result in a long-term or lifelong disability.

Key Points to Remember About Concussions ↓

• A concussion IS a brain injury
• Most concussions occur WITHOUT loss of consciousness
• Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or death
• Athletes who have had concussions, are at increased risk for sustaining future concussions
• Children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults

Concussion Symptoms ↓

You May Have a Concussion If You Experience
• Headache or pressure
• Nausea or vomiting
• Difficulty thinking
• Feeling groggy, foggy, or sluggish
• Feeling slower than normal
• Trouble falling asleep
• Fatigue
• Sleeping more or less than normal
• Numbness or tingling
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Dizziness or issues balancing
• Feeling irritable, sad, anxious, or more emotional than normal
• Confusion or difficulty remembering
• Blurry or double vision
• Difficulties concentrating or problems thinking clearly

Someone May Have a Concussion If You Observe
• One pupil is larger than the other
• Confusion
• Clumsiness
• Convulsions or seizures
• Stunned or dazed appearance
• Sleeping more or less than normal
• Forgetfulness
• Repeats questions
• Can't recall events prior and/or after to the hit, bump, or fall
• Slowed or slurred speech
• Changes in mood or behavior, such as irritability, sadness, or anxiety
• Loss of Consciousness (even briefly)

You Can Not See a Concussion
Some concussions symptoms can may manifest themselves immediately following the injury, but others may not show up days or weeks until after the injury. It always best to see a health care professional if you think you or your child has sustained a concussion. An undiagnosed concussion can affect a person's abilities at work, school, or any other daily activities.

What is Second Impact Syndrome? ↓

Second Impact Syndrome occurs when one concussion is sustained before fully recovering from an earlier one. This may result in the brain rapidly swelling, which is usally fatal. Catching the first concussion and taking the proper steps to recover and the precautions to avoid a second concussion are critical to avoding Second Impact Syndrome.

What to Do If a Concussion Is Suspected ↓

The CDC offers a useful tool, known as the Concussion ABC's:

A. ASSESS the situation
B. BE alert for signs and symptoms
C. CONTACT a health care professional

If you suspect someone has sustained a concussion while participating in a sporting activity, follow these four steps as recommended by the CDC:

1. Remove the athlete from play. When in doubt, sit them out.
2. Ensure the athlete is evaluated by a health care professional experience in evaluating for a concussion.
3. Inform the athlete's parents or guardians about he possible concussion and give them a fact sheet on concussion.
4. Keep the athlete of out play until a health care professional says they are symptom-free.

Remember: Returning to play before the symptoms are gone is not only bad for the player's health, it's bad for the team.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Concussion? ↓

The time it takes to recover from a concussion differs not only based on the severity of the concussion, but also will differ from person to person.On average though, concussion symptoms will begin to decrease in the first few weeks or months. You might notice that you still have some difficulties in certain situations than in others. For instance, you might feel mentally fatigued after reading, studying, or watching television. It might be harder to multitask, such as listening to music and working on the computer.

When Returning to Normal Activities ↓

It's important that people with concussions, especially children and teens, should never return to regular activities on the same day the injury occurred. They should delay completely returning to activities until a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussions says they are symptom-free and given the go ahead to return to normal activities. Taking things slowly and being patient with yourself are the best things you can do to ensure a full recovery.

• Take rests or breaks as needed
• Spend fewer hours on tasks
• Take your time completing tasks
• Ask for help
• Keep time spent reading, writing, or on the computer to a minimum

For Students Returning to School After a Concussion
Students require support from not only parents, but school professionals and health care providers, and may need some accommodations made during their recovery. If their concussion symptoms persit, a 504 meeting can be called. Section 504 Plans are used when students have a temporary or permanent disability that affects there performance in any manner.

What to Do If You Have Already Had One Concussion ↓

• Never ignore a bump to the head
• Tell someone, like your coach, teammates, colleague, etc.
• Take time out
   – Ask to be removed from the game
   – Ask to be excused from work or school
• Pay attention to physical changes
• Watch our for thinking problems
• Talk to someone, like your parents, teachers, or boss, about the troubles you have been experiencing
• See a health care professional
• Get an adequate amount of rest
• Return to activities only after your brain is healed and your health care professional has cleared you for it

Concussion Statistics ↓

• Concussions are the most common form of brain injury
• Most concussions DO NOT involve loss of concsiousness
• Mulitple concussions can have a cumulative affect on you brain leading to long lasting life changes
• Concussions usually DO NOT show up on MRI's, CAT Scans, or other neuroimaging studies
• It is possible to sustain a concussion WITHOUT hitting your head
   – An indirect blow to another part of the body can transmit "implusive" force to the head and cause a concussion
• It is estimated between 1.6 - 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in the US each year
• Among children between the ages of 5 - 18 yeas old, the five leading sports or recreational activities that caused concussions include:
   – Bicycling
   – Football
   – Basketball
   – Playing on playgrounds
   – Soccer

Concussion Resources ↓

CDC Heads Up Program
BIAA Concussion Information Center
Michigan Sports Concussion Law

Interviews on Concussions With Local Media ↓

HUGE Show Interview with Mike Dabbs 1-13-16
HUGE Show Interview with Dr. Steven Bloom 1-13-16
HUGE Show Interview with Tom Constand 12-12-15

Program Partners ↓

Rainbow Rehabilitation
Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services and Michigan Safe Kids Coalition
University of Michigan Injury Center
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation