Concussions Essay, Research Paper


In my report I will be talking about concussions. Concussion, by definition, is a clinical syndrome characterized by immediate and transient posttraumatic impairment of neural functions. Some examples include alterations of consciousness, disturbance of vision, and loss of equilibrium. These are just some of the effects of a concussion. A concussion is a serious head injury and is not something people should take lightly.

The brain is composed of soft, delicate structures that lie within the rigid skull. Surrounding the brain is a tough, leathery outer covering called the dura (door-a). Within the brain there are cranial nerves that are responsible for many activities, such as eye opening, facial movements, speech and hearing. These nerves carry and receive messages that allow the person to think and function normally. There are also centers that control level of consciousness and vital activities, such as breathing. The brain is cushioned by blood and spinal fluid. There is very little extra room within the skull cavity. An injury to the head causes the brain to bounce against the rigid bone of the skull. This force may cause a tearing or twisting of the structures and blood vessels of the brain, which results in a breakdown of the normal flow of messages within the brain. The damage to the brain generally is found deep within the brain tissue. Because of this damage, the normal function of the brain signals are interrupted.

There are different levels of severity for concussions. The grading system is as follows:

+ Grade 1

The mild concussion occurs when the person does not lose consciousness (pass out) but may seem dazed.

+ Grade 2

The slightly more severe form occurs when the person does not lose consciousness but has a period of confusion and does not recall the event.

+ Grade 3

The classic concussion, which is the most severe form, occurs when the person loses consciousness for a brief period of time and has no memory of the event. Evaluation from a health-care provider should be performed as soon as possible after the injury.

A concussion can happen to anyone, at any time. The most common causes of concussion include a blow to the head from a motor vehicle crash, fall or assault. People at higher risk are those who have difficulty walking and fall often, those who are active in high impact contact sports and those who are taking blood thinners, such as coumadin. Mild head injury, such as concussion is a frequent cause for hospital admission, with an estimate of more than 600,000 cases per year in the United States.

The signs and symptoms of a concussion include severe headache, dizziness, vomiting, increased size of one pupil or sudden weakness in an arm or leg. The person may seem restless, aggitated or irritable. Often, the person may have memory loss or seem forgetful. These symptoms may last for several hours to weeks, depending on the seriousness of the injury. Any period of loss of consciousness or amnesia of the head injury should be evaluated by a health-care professional. As the brain tissue swells, the person may feel increasingly drowsy or confused. If the person is difficult to awaken or passes out, medical attention should be sought immediately. This could be a sign of a more severe injury. People with a similar case should get an MRI or a CT scan. An MRI does not involve X-ray image. This will examine brain structures. A CT scan is an X-ray image. This takes a picture of the whole brain.

The treatment for a concussion is usually to watch the person closely for any change in level of consciousness. The person may need to stay in the hospital for close observation. Surgery is usually not necessary. Headache and dizziness are common, but if the headache persists or becomes severe, it is best to seek medical attention.

Post-concussion syndrome may occur in some people. The syndrome generally consists of a persistent headache, dizziness, irritability, memory changes and vision changes. The person may seem overly emotional or unable to control their emotions. Some people experience unexplained depression. Difficulty with concentration or problems with thinking and planning ahead also are reported. Symptoms may begin weeks or even months after the initial injury. Although the symptoms generally resolve over time, some people need a rehabilitation specialist to oversee a program for recovery.

In conclusion, concussions are a serious injury. They can be very stressful for the person injured and his/her friends and family. Speaking from experience, concussions aren t fun to deal with. It does really take a lot of time to heel completely. People should take great caution when dealing with a concussion.

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