As the popularity of football continues to soar in America, and increasingly throughout the world, discussions regarding concussions and brain injuries are also on the rise. Despite our ferocious love for sports involving heads being clunked together like coconuts, science is increasingly shedding light on the life-altering, even life-threatening effects that head trauma and brain injuries can have.
Football players are not the only ones at risk, however. Brain injuries can happen to anyone. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of brain injuries, as well as links to research and resources to help you take care of your most vital cognitive organ.
Is that just a headache, or a concussion?
We all bonk our heads from time to time. Whether it’s a fall, an accident at work, or perhaps an unruly child with a plastic bat, you don’t have to be a linebacker to get a concussion. If you do sustain a blow to the head, it’s important to identify the extent of the injury.
Immediate concussion symptoms may include: confusion, amnesia, dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears, vomiting, or temporary loss of consciousness. Head injuries can lead to more profound long-term effects as well. Difficulty sleeping, changes in personality, loss of sense of smell or taste, slurred speech, depression, depleted motor skills…
These issues should not be ignored. A recent study showed that suffering just one concussion can triple the long-term risk of suicide. There has also been plenty written recently about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, and the devastating toll that repeated head trauma can take on the human body.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of the signs or symptoms above, or might be at risk, please seek medical help as soon as possible.
Brain injuries, recovery, and resources
There is no “one size fits all” approach to recovering from brain injuries or head trauma. Broadly speaking, though, there are things we can all do to promote brain health. First and foremost, it’s critical to avoid further head trauma, as multiple concussions can be disastrous for your body. Your brain needs time to heal just like any other body part.
If you’ve suffered a head injury, be sure to explore the treatment options available. Depending on the severity of your case, your doctor may just advise you to get plenty of rest, or perhaps take some time off of work. More serious cases may require more intensive, long-term therapies. Either way, it’s important to seek out professional expertise to help you take care of your cognitive command center.
Playing it safe, or not at all?
Knowing what we now know about the health risks of football and other high-contact sports, is it worth the risk? What do you tell your child who wants to play football? Millions of parents are facing this dilemma.
Whatever you and your family decide regarding contact sports, it’s important to at least familiarize yourself with the potential effects head injuries can have—especially on young people.
The human brain is one of our most important, yet complex and delicate organs. It’s worth protecting.
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