A concussion is defined as an injury to the brain resulting from an impact to the head. Not thought to be life threatening, a concussion can cause both short-term and long-term problems.
Concussions can range from what is termed mild, where the person doesn’t lose consciousness to a very brief loss of consciousness, to severe where there is prolonged loss of consciousness with a delayed return to normal.
It used to be that people viewed a concussion as something that just happened when you took a hit to the head in an accident or through sporting activity. With the increasing concern over concussions brought to light in recent years through injuries to NHL players, and especially since Sidney Crosby was taken out of the game for an extended period of time from his concussion, these injuries are being viewed in a much more serious light. Concussions in sports are not always the result of violence either. Flying into the boards or taking a hard spill on the ice could just as likely lead to a concussion.
It used to be that we thought a bit of rest and painkillers was all that was needed to recover from a concussion. Once the person felt better it was back to business as usual in most cases. We have since learned that concussions should be viewed in a more serious light. They are in fact brain injuries. Their scars might not be visible on the surface, but they can remain after the fact. We have also learned that repeat concussions can cause even more extensive damage.
What is very concerning now is the media reports with medical professionals as of late linking concussions with serious possible future outcomes that include everything from long-term memory loss, to increasing the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other health concerns.
For anyone who hasn’t experienced a concussion or doesn’t know someone who has had one, it can be a scary experience. The Beacon (sister paper of The Pilot located in Gander) sports editor Matt Molloy has compiled a three-part series on concussions, with part one being featured on page 7B. It gives an open and honest view of what it is like to be the patient and to be watching someone who has sustained a concussion.
While there is no way to prevent concussions from happening in everyday life, this series is another eye-opener to the seriousness of these brain injuries.
— Karen Wells