Did you know that about 300,000 sports related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur each year in the United States alone. Athletes that are involved in contact sports are at a significantly higher risk of developing head injuries.
A head injury is any type of trauma that injures the scalp, skull, or brain. In case of an open head injury, there may be bleeding, swelling, and bruising. A closed head injury may cause loss of consciousness, headache, lightheadedness, confusion, and dilated pupils. Serious brain injury may manifest as seizures, vomiting, convulsions, or paralysis.
A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury where the brain is jarred such that it makes violent contact with the inside of the skull. This may happen when athletes collide in football, take punches to the head in boxing, or are hit with a ball or a hockey stick.
Complications of a closed head injury such as brain swelling, hematoma, and increased intracranial pressure can have devastating effects on the brain. In such cases, urgent surgery may be required to reduce intracranial pressure. Open head injuries can be complicated by infection and excessive blood loss.
The importance of seeking medical attention as soon as possible after a head injury and easing back into the sport cannot be over emphasized. After a through medical evaluation, the athlete should take a few days, weeks, or even months off from the sport to recover depending on the seriousness of the injury. Following this period of rest, they can return to light activity or practice without physical contact with other players. Only if they experience no symptoms, may they participate in full-contact practice and then finally return to active play.
Carrell Clinic in Dallas, Texas, provides patients with immediate access to the services of experts in Sports Medicine as well as other orthopedic services. Call us today for an appointment!