Concussion is a trauma-induced change in mental status, with confusion and amnesia and with or without a brief loss of consciousness.
A concussion occurs when the head hits or is hit by an object, or when the brain is jarred against the skull, with sufficient force to cause temporary loss of function in the higher centers of the brain. The injured person may remain conscious or lose consciousness briefly and is disoriented for some minutes after the blow.
While concussion usually resolves on its own without lasting effect, it can set the state for a much more serious condition. "Second impact syndrome" occurs when a person with a concussion, even a very mild one, suffers a second blow before fully recovering from the first. The brain swelling and increased intracranial pressure that can result is potentially fatal.
Contact sports, especially football, hockey and boxing. are among those most likely to lead to concussion.
Concussion and lasting brain damage is an especially significant risk for boxers, since the goal of the sport is, in fact, to deliver a concussion to the opponent. Repeated concussions over months or years can cause cumulative head injury. The cumulative brain injuries suffered by most boxers can lead to permanent brain damage. Multiple blows to the head can cause "punch-drunk" syndrome or dementia pugilistica.
Symptoms of concussion include:
· ● Headache
● Disorientation as to time, date, or place
● Vacant stare or confused expression
● Incoherent or incomprehensible speech
● Lack of coordination or weakness
● Amnesia for the events immediately preceding the blow
● Nausea or vomiting
● Double vision
● Ringing in the ears
These symptoms may last from several minutes to several hours. More severe or longer-lasting symptoms may indicate more severe brain injury. the person with a concussion may or may not lose consciousness from the blow; if so, it will be for several minutes at the most. More prolonged unconsciousness indicates more severe brain injury
The severity of concussion is graded on a three-point scale, used as a basis for treatment decisions
· Grade 1: no loss of consciousness, transient confusion, and other symptoms that resolve within 15 minutes
· Grade 2: no loss of consciousness, transient confusion and other symptoms that require more than 15 minutes to resolve
· Grade 3: loss of consciousness for any period
Days or weeks after the accident, the person may show signs of:
· ● Headache
● Poor attention and concentration
● Memory difficulties
● Sleep disturbances
● Light and noise intolerance
The occurrence of such symptoms is called "post-concussion syndrome."
It is vital that coaches, players and parents understand the medical issues and possible consequences involved in concussion. Athletes are more apt to follow recommendations and seek medical evaluation if they realize and understand that premature return to play could result in death and have long-term effects or deficits resulting from injury following concussions.
Under no circumstances should you return to competition without being symptom free and without the clearance from a licensed physician.
Repeated Head Trauma
Research indicates that repeated head trauma tends to have a cumulative effect in its impact on thinking and processing of information. Even a mild concussion leaves the victim somewhat more compromised than if this had been the sole injury. Importantly, a single brain trauma doubles the risk for a future head injury and two such injuries raise the risk of brain damage eight-fold. The effect of repeated concussion becomes more obvious in contact sports such as football, ice hockey and boxing. As a matter of fact, one of the main points of boxing is to inflict cumulative blows to the head with the goal of giving the opponent a sufficient concussion to render him unconscious. The most usual presentation of repeated head injury in boxers is the "punch drunk" syndrome, originally called "dementia pugilisitca", known medically as chronic progressive encephalopathy of boxers.