Sports Concussion: Causes & Symptoms

Sports Concussion: Causes & Symptoms

At Farmingdale Physical Therapy West, many of our patients are athletes. Therefore, many of the treatments we administer are from sports-related injuries, both acute and chronic. A lot of sports, especially if they’re high-impact, can lead to several different injuries for the athletes who play them. As a result, we understand the best therapies for a variety of our Long Island patients.

A mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), better known as a concussion, is one of the most common sports injuries. According to the Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI), athletes in the U.S. experience anywhere from 1.6 to 3.8 million sports concussions per year. And for many of these athletes, their concussions have symptoms that last weeks or months after their injury. Many doctors advise these patients to avoid any activity that may aggravate the symptoms and wait for relief indefinitely. However, a physical therapist can apply specific treatment routines to help eliminate these symptoms and restore a pain-free lifestyle.

In this post, we’ll discuss sports concussions, their causes, symptoms and more.


Top 3 Concussion-Causing Sports

  1. Football

    Of course, this should come as no surprise. Football is notorious for its rough, brutal gameplay. In addition, it’s famous for its more dubious distinction: a lot of concussions. In fact, the number of concussions in football players has actually become a major topic of discussion in recent years.

    47% of football players sustain concussions. Many of these concussions evolve into more serious issues – like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The National Football League (NFL) has even begun to try and implement new safety measures in order to reduce the potential for these injuries in players. And in high school sports, football injuries account for 60% of athletic concussions.

  2. Ice Hockey

    Hockey isn’t far behind football when it comes to concussion rates. It requires movement at very high speeds on ice, in large groups. Therefore, it’s virtually impossible to finish a game without several accidental, abrupt collisions. Hockey players experience injuries ranging from shoulder pain to broken bones, and of course: concussions.

    A recent study had researchers conducting imagine studies on hockey players, and they discovered some trouble information. Hockey and its gameplay, like football, leads to players’ brain injuries that can develop into long-term neurological issues. The researchers found that multiple concussions in hockey players leads to neurological defects that can linger for at least six months post-concussion.

  3. Soccer

    Often, athletes playing soccer must abruptly smash the ball with their head during the game. A 2015 study found that 30.6% of concussions in soccer players happened while “heading” the ball. In addition, some researchers found evidence of long-term brain issues among players who regularly headed the ball. Some argue that players can train properly to head the ball with zero consequences. However, this debate doesn’t quite have any definite answers yet, as most studies are still in process.

    Also, during a soccer game, players often rush about the field unaware of their surroundings. As a result, players knock their heads together, which is another leading cause of concussion. Obviously, when you have several players eagerly fighting for control of one ball on the ground, this is all too inevitable. And unfortunately, no amount of pre-game preparation, like stretching, can prevent this.


    4 Common Symptoms of a Concussion

    1. Difficulty thinking clearly
      This is often one of the most prevalent symptoms, and can confirm the presence of a concussion. Difficulty thinking clearly, among the other symptoms, are all byproducts of what is called “brain fog.” If you find yourself feeling foggy, absent or sluggish, it could be from a sport concussion.
    2. Feeling slowed downed
      Again: this is a part of typical “brain fog.” You may feel as if you haven’t gotten as much sleep as you should have, and feel unable to keep up.
    3. Difficulty concentrating
      Another concussion symptom is feeling completely unable to focus. Following a concussion, the parts of your brain that processes information is compromised. As a result, it’s virtually impossible to concentrate properly.
    4. Difficulty remembering new information
      The thalamus part of our brains collect, screens and relays information to our brains, and concussions often affect it. And when the thalamus isn’t working right, memorizing new information is incredibly difficult.


    More About Concussions

    The International Conference on Concussion in Sport says that all athletes who have or had a concussion, regardless of how small should be evaluated before returning to play. Only after they are free of all symptoms and continue symptom free during and after physical testing. 
Sadly, it is undetermined if the brain has healed from a concussion even after all symptoms have gone. Healing may not be surely complete.

    Young Man holding Head in Pain

    Concussions caused by contact sports are rapidly growing amongst athletes. If left undetected, the outcome can be long-term brain damage or even fatal. When you participate in sports use the proper protective equipment for and follow the safety rules.

    If you think you or someone you know has a concussion make sure to seek medical attention right away.


    Conclusion – Farmingdale Physical Therapy West

    We encourage all of our patients to ask us rigorous questions, including how we can help treat any of your sports injuries. Concussions from sports are a rapidly growing problem among athletes of all ages. Therefore, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself during the game. At Farmingdale Physical Therapy West, we help athletes recover from sports injuries every day.

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