My Concussion

By Pendethan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Pendethan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Fogginess, nausea, pain, sensitivity to light and sound, these are some symptoms of a concussion. Hearing that you have a concussion is a devastating thing, especially for someone who devotes all of their time and energy into doing something they love. I personally can relate because I have suffered multiple concussions.

Generally, a person can mostly heal in about 2 to 3 weeks but as they get more and more concussions it takes longer for their brain to heal and sometimes it never fully recovers. This is called TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury and it is caused by obtaining several concussions within a short time or very hard blows to the head.

A concussion is when a person receives a powerful blow, usually to the head, and their brain bounces inside of the skull. The brain then “bruises” and swells to fill most of the space in the head. This can cause the headaches, nausea, and other symptoms that occur. Sometimes a person who experiences a concussion will feel the symptoms instantly, but for others it may take a little while.

Playing sports is where many young people get concussions. The situations where many receive concussions can lead to a masking of its effects. When adrenaline is running an athlete may not notice it as much as if it was unexpected. According to the websites Brainline, in high school, 60% of male concussions are from football while women get a majority of theirs from soccer. Everyone who plays sports knows the risk and understands it but most don’t think it would happen to them.

Concussions are a very serious matter. At first most people just think they have a headache and shrug it off, but if they keep going it will just get worse. Generally one or two concussions is not life threatening, it may be miserable but, about 9 out of 10 cases resume their life as if nothing happened. But, once a person gets three, four, five, or more, TBI is more common.

Most high schools across the country have a rule of how many you can have before you can no longer play contact sports. Generally at four or five the athletic trainer or doctor will request an athlete to stop. In some cases the athlete will be forced to stop. If advised to stop it would definitely be in your best interest.

Traumatic brain injuries are an issue for athletes of all ages and skill level. This is most visible in the National Football League.  

As of July of 2017 110 out of 111 NFL football players that had their brains studied post-mortem had CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which is different from TBI in that TBI is the injury while CTE is more like a disease that is a “progressive degenerative disorder”. There have also been two known cases at the high school level. While a majority of the players used to play 20+ years ago it is becoming more and more common.

The youngest NFL player to have been diagnosed with CTE was 25 years old. There are about three dozen players that are still alive suspected of having CTE, their average ages is around 51. There is no test available for living people yet but based on symptoms and behaviours they fall into that category. Also, around 4,500 former players had joined a class act suit against the NFL related to concussion injuries and they reached a settlement in 2013.

According to Antwaan Randle El he says if he could go back he would have stopped playing. At the age of 36 he already has difficulty remembering things his wife had told him moments before. His body, and brain, have begun to betray him and he is only 36. There are many other cases like this with people both older and younger than him.

I know from my personal experience that each concussion is worse than the last. The initial pain/symptoms are worse as well as the recovery and after effects. Like anything, the more you hurt something; the worse it gets.

People who break their arm 4 times, same arm same bone, eventually will have severe issues because their arm may never completely heal or may have a defect. But you can live and even do most things with a slightly injured or defected arm. It is similar with your brain, the more you hurt the worse it gets each time, except you can’t function properly without a brain. You have two arms and legs, ten fingers and toes, 206 bones in your body, but you only have one brain and it is more important than any of those other things. Concussions are very serious and need to be taken that way so.