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What Every Athlete Should Know About Concussions

Experts estimate that 5%-10% of athletes experience a concussion during a sports season. Concussions are so common, in fact, that about 3.8 million occur each year in the United States from sports-related injuries.

The idea persists that a concussion heals easily with a little rest and protection. But many people still suffer from symptoms months after the injury.

Dr. Steven Grossinger evaluates and treats concussions at his offices in Wilmington, Delaware, and Springfield, Pennsylvania. He has innovative options to help you resolve your headaches, relieve your pain, and improve your activity level so you can resume your athletic lifestyle.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a minor traumatic brain injury. It can be triggered by direct trauma to the head or indirectly by trauma to the body that causes movement of the brain in the bony skull.

Most people recover from a concussion completely, and an appropriate management approach helps you recover more quickly. Even so, all concussions should be viewed with caution.

Symptoms of a concussion

Loss of consciousness is the No. 1 symptom, though it doesn’t happen in every case. In some cases, you might lose consciousness but not realize it. Other initial symptoms include:

Additionally, you may notice postconcussive symptoms that can appear a few days to weeks after a concussion. They include:

Athletes who have symptoms or show signs of concussion should stop playing and rest. They should avoid school and work activities, driving, drinking alcohol, excessive brain stimulation (computers, TV, video games), and physical exertion to keep symptoms from worsening.

Treatment for concussions

Concussions are generally considered minor injuries because they’re typically not life-threatening and, in most cases, heal without consequences. However, recovery differs from person to person. Complete recovery usually occurs within three months.

If your injury involves skull fractures or brain bruises, it likely takes longer for complete recovery.

Therapeutic options to treat a concussion include:

For athletes, your treatment plan may culminate with a gradual return to full athletic activity

Getting back in the game

Athletes should refrain from sports activities until they’re asymptomatic and no longer require medication. They can then start with light aerobic exercises and continue with sport-specific training without physical contact. 

Patients who remain asymptomatic at one stage can move on to the next. 

Athletes who’ve had multiple concussions in a season should receive extensive advice on the risks versus the benefits of continued involvement in their sport.

If you’ve suffered from a possible concussion, it’s crucial that you recognize your symptoms and not suppress them. Call Dr. Grossinger as soon as possible to seek treatment so you can get back in the game as soon as possible. 

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