Last July, I wrote an entry about concussions in cyclists. Since then, I’ve seen more and more discussion of this topic in the media, especially regarding injuries in high school and college athletics. But it’s not just in the realm of sports that concussions show up. I have had enough occasions of having a patient walk in my office with signs of having had a brain injury that it’s one of the top things I have to screen for during my evaluation if someone has had an accident or fall.
Last fall, Kris Dielman of the San Diego Chargers suffered a concussion during a game, but was allowed to continue playing the rest of the game. Later that night, he had a “grand mal” seizure on the plane while flying home. Videos of the event clearly show that Dielman was disoriented and stumbled after taking the blow to the head. Unfortunately, the coaching and referee staff did not pull him from the game, and, instead, left him in to play the rest of the game. The coaching staff of the team, of course, has taken quite a bit of heat from their decision.
In my office, I have had a few patients who have come to me with concussions related to sports such as a fall off of a bicycle or while snowboarding. They don’t just happen in sports, though. I’ve also had patients come into the office with post concussion symptoms after automobile accidents. In those cases, the patients were unaware that they’d had a concussion because it wasn’t obvious enough to be detected at the scene of the accident by emergency staff.
Hopefully, you won’t need the information, but in case you do, here are some of the signs of a concussion:
Becoming easily fatigued
Having difficulty sleeping
Changes in personality
Apathy/lack of spontaneity