The number of estimated sports-related concussion cases in the U.S. ranges from 1.6 – 3.8 million each year. This statistic calculates that 10% of sport-related concussions are reported or brought to the emergency room. The remaining 90% of concussions are not reported.
Emergency rooms across the nation are reporting increased incidents in sports-related concussions. But these are only the ‘reported’ cases. In my practice, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients reporting sports-related concussions in the last 10 years.
I believe this is due partly to increased awareness, other factors like more aggressive playing and more athletes. But we’re also seeing a cultural shift to avoid ignoring symptoms, protecting the athlete’s future instead of just saying ‘walk it off.’
Think of a concussion like a brain sprain.
Like muscle sprains, concussions vary in severity, from mild to moderate to severe. Considered a mild traumatic brain injury, a concussion can last hours, days, or even weeks. If the symptoms of a concussion continue beyond a week or two, the severity may increase to post-concussion syndrome or even mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Resting alone may not be enough and can actually lead long-term negative consequences.
If a concussion recovery is not handled correctly, it can cause permanent brain damage.
A concussion is most serious when a second concussion is sustained to an already injured brain, before the trauma has completely recovered. This second-impact syndrome is noted by a sudden swelling of the brain, which can exacerbate the previous injury and even prove to be fatal.
Mitigating the risks of concussions
Until recently, coaches felt the most pressure to be responsible for the athlete’s condition. The responsibility should be assumed by everyone involved, from parents to coaches to the athletes themselves.
Implementing the XLNTbrain Concussion Management Program helps safely guide athletes back to gameplay after a concussion has been sustained.