Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), commonly known as concussions, have been a major cause of death and disability in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, or deaths were associated with TBI, either alone or in combination of other diseases” in 2010 .
Essentially, concussions are defined as the temporary loss of brain function. In addition to having physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms, this condition inhibits many essential daily tasks. Concussions usually occur when a large bump or violent jolt causes the brain to experience a hard impact against the skull. This bump usually results in the tearing of nerve fibers and the buildup of blood in that specific region.
Regardless of the fact that concussions are a very common injury, researchers have not yet established any concrete biomarkers or tests to determine the severity of the concussion. The diagnoses provided by doctors are solely based on signs and symptoms observed from the patient. These symptoms include loss of consciousness, confusion, vomiting, nausea, slurred speech and tiredness. The symptoms can persist for hours up to a few weeks after the concussion, depending on the severity of the injury. In addition, there are no specific treatments for concussions; but, the following guidelines are commonly used to help cope with concussions:
- Rest is always recommended to give your brain a chance to heal
- It helps to take over the counter pain relief medications to help deal with the headaches experienced after a concussion. Stronger pain relievers may be prescribed by a doctor depending on individual cases
- Alcohol should be avoided completely when a concussion has occurred; it has been known to slow down the healing process
- A doctor should be consulted before rejoining any sports or physical activity of any sort
 TBI: Get the Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html
Concussion: How to Recognize, Treat, and Avoid. Nordqvist, Christian. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/158876.php
Concussion Recognition, Diagnosis, and Acute Management. National Center for Biotechnology Information – US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK185340/