Sports concussions are preventable

Sports and recreation related concussions impact an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million individuals in the U.S. each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow or jolt to the head and can range from mild to severe. It is important to note that even if you do not lose consciousness after a fall, it is possible to have a concussion. Symptoms of concussion can include headache, nausea, dizziness, and visual changes, but it is important to note they are different for every individual and are not always immediately evident. In fact, it can take days or weeks before symptoms are present. Therefore it is important to seek medical attention immediately following any type of blow to the head. "Recovery from concussion and brain injury never really stops, so even if an injury occurred in the past, it is not too late to seek medical advice," according to Patrick Walsh, Marianjoy Director of Psychology and Brain Injury Program Coordinator. "It can be a very slow process and usually requires long-term rehabilitation." March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month; this year the focus is on sports and concussions. It is important to wear protective gear -- including a helmet -- when engaging in physical activities such as snowboarding, skiing, bicycling, rollerblading or contact sports. The Marianjoy Post Concussive Institute Program offers treatment for individuals experiencing physical, cognitive or emotional difficulties following a mild head injury. Visit the Marianjoy website for more information on concussion and brain injury: www.marianjoy.org. ********** Published: March 20, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 48