Your brain is the control center of your body, monitoring, adapting, remembering and maintaining everything you need to live and thrive as a human being.
While the brain might be king of your organs, it's also incredibly fragile — even a small bump or knock to the head can do serious damage and inhibit its ability to function properly. Engaging in sports and athletic activities can raise your risk of encountering potential brain-knocking situations, so while you certainly shouldn't cut down on exercise, you should still learn everything you can about brain injuries. Here, we've compiled a list to help you read up the basics so you can better protect yourself, your health and your delicate brain from any trauma.
Regardless of age, males are much more likely to injure their brains than females. It's not because men have weak brains, they're just more likely than women to engage in risky behaviors that lead to head trauma. Male athletes take heed: don't let your bravado lead to a serious injury.
This figure only accounts for those who actually seek treatment. There are likely many more brain injuries occuring each year which go unreported. These numbers should tell you one thing: it's pretty easy to hurt your brain. So be careful when engaging in any physical activity and take precautions whenever possible.
Sadly, some brain injuries are simply too severe to recover from. Many brain injuries are caused by car accidents, serious falls and blunt force trauma, which can easily cause long-term injury or death. While deaths from sports-related head traumas are less common than those from, say, a car crash, they're not unheard of. So athletes need to be on the lookout.
Most brain injuries are mild and do not require extensive hospitalization or care. That doesn't mean they aren't a serious matter, however, and all brain injuries should be monitored and looked at by a professional just to be safe.
Concussions account for 75-90% of all traumatic brain injuries, and are likely not something unfamiliar to those who play contact or high-risk sports. While concussions may be common, they are still a brain injury and should be evaluated carefully. Those who are injured should be allowed to rest and recover so the brain can heal.
Could you recognize the symptoms of a concussion if you had to? Many people may not be able to since they can be quite varied. Symptoms can include: headaches, nausea, dizziness, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, grogginess, difficulty paying attention, memory problems, confusion and numbness.
Just because a blow to the head doesn't knock you out doesn't mean you don't have a concussion. In fact, few concussions ever result in loss of consciousness, so don't look to this as an indicator of the seriousness of a brain injury.
Concussions are generally mild, but that doesn't mean they can't be deadly from time to time. If serious concussions are left untreated, they may result in swelling of the brain, which can cause permanent damage and death. Additionally, if an individual sustains another concussion before the original one has healed, they can be subject to second impact syndrome – which very often results in fatal brain swelling.
The signs of a brain injury may show up immediately or they make take a few days to appear. Don't assume that just because you don't have serious symptoms right after an injury, you are completely out of the woods. If you think there is the potential that you might have a brain injury, seek treatment. When it comes to your brain, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Your chances of getting a sports-related concussive injury are pretty high, especially in certain types of athletics. Most of these concussions are not serious enough to warrant emergency medical care, but if you're not trained to recognize the difference, you may want to consult with someone who is.
Whether you're playing football, baseball or riding your bike, a helmet is an accessory you should never leave at home. When used properly, these protective devices can help keep your brain safe and greatly reduce the chance of serious injury.
Baseball, softball and volleyball also pose a risk. If you play any of these sports, make sure you learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of brain injury so that you or those close to you can seek treatment.
The ABCs of concussions are as follows: A is for assess the situation, B is for be alert for signs and symptoms and C is for contact a health care professional. Follow these steps any time a head injury may have occurred to you or your teammate.
Having previous concussions raises your risk of having future concussions. It also increases your risk of having more severe outcomes for subsequent concussions. If you have had a concussion or other brain injury in the past, take extra caution when engaging in sports or other potentially brain-endangering activities.