Most people know the basics about concussions: a blow or jolt to the head can cause brain damage. Common symptoms include dizziness, headaches and nausea. But there may be some other facts about this condition that you aren’t aware of—yet.
Here are five interesting facts about concussions:
1. Football-related concussions became a concern more than a century ago.
Believe it or not, discussions about football and concussions didn’t start just a few years ago; they began more than 100 years ago. In 1905, at least 18 college football players died due to the roughness of the game, some succumbing to tragic effects from severe concussions, internal injuries and injuries to the spine. Some people protested, demanding to ban the sport. President Theodore Roosevelt stepped in and worked with colleges, specifically Harvard, Yale and Princeton, to make football safer and protect the players’ health. Players were also encouraged to speak up if they thought that one of their teammates or they themselves were suffering from some kind of traumatic brain injury.
2. Concussions in adolescents are on the rise.
Recent research published by The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine has revealed the frequency of concussions occuring in various age groups. From 2007 to 2014, when the study took place, results showed that the number of patients with concussions who were 10 years old to 19 years old increased every year. Furthermore, the patients in this age bracket “accounted for 32% of concussions.”
Although the study didn't have a definitive explanation about the increase in concussions for young people, the study suggested that it might “result from increased sports-related events, as evidence supporting the benefits of exercise in youth has caused a recent national promotion of exercise and sports participation.”
3. It isn’t just happening to athletes.
Many people consider athletes who primarily play football, soccer and hockey as prime candidates for concussions, but this type of brain injury can happen to anyone at any age. As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other causes of concussions include motor vehicle accidents, falls, assaults and blunt force trauma.
4. You don’t necessarily have to hit your head to get a concussion.
Sometimes someone can suffer from a concussion without having hit their head. For example, the damage to the brain can be caused by whiplash from a car accident. Although whiplash is mainly associated with neck pain and neck injuries, it can also contribute to brain trauma because it causes the rapid and unexpected movement of a person’s head, pushing the brain against the skull and prompting a brain injury.
5. Everyone’s path to recovery is different.
Because millions of people a year are diagnosed with this kind of brain injury, there are some universal concussion recovery tips that should be followed. But not everyone recovers the same way. Just like the causes of concussions vary, so do their levels of severity. Consequently, both the therapies that people use to recover and the amount of time it takes to heal can differ widely.
If you are (or think that you may be) suffering from a concussion, seek medical attention as soon as possible to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment that will put you on a path to recovery.