BRF Launching New Program on Sports-Related Brain Injuries

Brain injuries related to youth sports activities are of increasing concern in communities across the country. Brain Research Foundation is launching a new educational initiative to heighten awareness about these injuries, gather expert information, and facilitate dialogue among national and international experts on how to keep children and adolescents safe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults.  In addition, athletes who have ever had a concussion are at increased risk for another. A study by the Brain Injury Association of America and the CDC reported that 40.5% of athletes who suffer concussions return to play before it is safe to do so.

The following is information from the CDC about concussions:

What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.

Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. However, repeated concussions or a severe concussion may lead to long-lasting problems with movement, learning, or speaking.

What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
Symptoms of concussion usually fall into four categories:

Thinking/remembering
•    Difficulty thinking clearly
•    Feeling slowed down
•    Difficulty concentrating
•    Difficulty remembering new information

Physical
•    Headache
•    Nausea or vomiting (early on)
•    Balance problems
•    Dizziness
•    Fuzzy or blurry vision
•    Feeling tired, having no energy
•    Sensitivity to noise or light

Emotional/Mood

•    Irritability
•    Sadness
•    More emotional
•    Nervousness or anxiety

Sleep Disturbance
•    Sleeping more than usual
•    Sleeping less than usual
•    Trouble falling asleep

What to do if a concussion occurs?
People with a concussion need to be seen by a health care professional.  A health care professional may refer you to a neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, or specialist in rehabilitation (such as a speech pathologist). Getting help soon after the injury by trained specialists may speed recovery.