What you should know about concussions

What you should know about concussions

Another football season means hearing about concussions. Just this Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback left a game with a concussion, as did the New York Giants’ running back.

You don’t have to be a football player to get a concussion, which is an interruption of your brain function caused by trauma.

Dr. Marc Hilgers, a sports medicine specialist with Advocate Medical Group, says you can get a concussion from a violent impact nearly anywhere on your body because the force can run up your spine to your brain.

Dr. Hilgers says that people who get concussions might not lose consciousness, and most concussions resolve themselves over time. And he says waking someone up every two hours as previously recommended actually can be detrimental to the recovery process.

How do you or know if someone has a concussion? The symptoms include headache and feeling like you’re in a fog. You might have amnesia or impaired balance. And you might be irritable or show slowed reaction times.

If you think you have suffered a concussion, you should see a doctor, Dr. Hilgers says.

“A safe return to activities should only be attempted after clearance by a physician who is properly trained and experienced in the treatment of concussions,” he says. “A premature return to play carries the risk of a potentially deadly ‘second-impact syndrome,’ which can happen if you suffer a second concussion before the first has fully healed.”

Often, a structured program needs to be followed because patients often feel better before their brain function is back its pre-concussion condition.

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About the Author

Mike Riopell
Mike Riopell

Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.