Concussions- What are they?

By: Andrew Andonian MS, AT, ATC
Athletic Trainer at Grass Lake High School

Whether you’re a coach, parent, or athletic trainer, it is important to remember that concussions do not judge people, any athlete is susceptible to a concussion. Knowing the signs and symptoms of concussions will improve the safety and health of your athletes. A concussion or mild traumatic brain injury can occur when a force is applied directly or indirectly to the skull. This force allows the brain to rapidly accelerate and decelerate, causing shearing of the brain’s neurons changing the ionic balance and metabolism of the brain.

Concussions are not black and white and affect every athlete differently. That is why it is so important to know the signs and symptoms that an athlete may be displaying. These signs and symptoms may include: headache, neck pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, blurry vision, sensitivity to light and/or noise, having a hard time concentrating, loss of consciousness, weakness in extremities, balance problems, abnormal eye movement when tested, or a feeling which is not their normal self.

When dealing with an athlete that has suffered from a concussion it is important to remember a few things once you get home. These things are: using ice packs for head or neck pain, eating a light diet high in carbohydrates, and having the athlete rest/sleep as they normally would. Things that should not be done or avoided are aspirin and ibuprofen products, drinking alcohol or taking non-prescription drugs, as well as waking them up every hour, and checking their eyes and reflexes.

Andrew is the Certified Athletic Trainer at Grass Lake High School and can be reached at