Ignoring a Concussion?
Is there anything wrong with just ignoring a concussion and continuing to play your sport?
Well, in a word – Yes!
Let’s review the problems with ignoring a concussion and continuing to play:
1. Longer Recovery Time:
Research has shown that athletes that get a concussion, but ignore the symptoms and continue to play, have a much longer recovery time:
Athletes removed from play immediately: Average recovery time was 22 days.
Athletes with delayed removal from play: Average recovery time was 44 days.
So DOUBLE the amount of time for recovery!
But how much more time did the athletes play after feeling symptoms of concussion during a game?
An average of only 20 minutes extra!
So, it’s important to recognize concussions. This is a responsibility of not only the athlete, but also their team mates, the coaches, and the parents watching the game.
There can be problems when we just push all the responsibility to the athlete because the athlete that’s concussed may not be thinking coherently to precisely recognize the symptoms of concussion.
And athletes are generally not ones to stop playing because of something they feel is a minor injury.
Small ankle pain -- keep playing.
Small shoulder pain -- keep playing.
Headache that develops after a collision -- keep playing?
A little unsteady after a collision -- keep playing?
Athletes can sometimes feel like they’re letting their team down if they remove themselves from play, but we need to encourage players not to feel guilty if they don’t feel quite right in the head during play.
The truth is that if you have a concussion, you will not be playing at your best – and this means you definitely will be letting your team down.
Everyone should be observing for concussion.
If you see an athlete grab their head with both hands after a collision, let someone know.
If you see an athlete lurching to one side or looking clumsy after a collision, let someone know.
2. A recent concussion means you’re more susceptible to another concussion:
Getting a second concussion before the first one is healed increases the possibility of several problems:
worsened symptom severity
larger number of symptoms
longer recovery time.
Generally the first 10 days after a concussion is a time of increased susceptibility to another concussion, so protecting the head from more trauma is very important during this period.
3. Second Impact Syndrome:
This is an extremely rare and sometimes controversial condition occurring in young people (under 25).
It’s a rapid swelling of the brain that can result in death within minutes.
It’s believed to be the result of a second concussion occurring before recovery from the first is complete.
Luckily, it’s extremely rare.