The Brain Injury Association of America recognizes March as Brain injury Awareness month. This year, the BIAA is focusing on sports and concussions in an effort to raise awareness about brain injuries amongst athletes of all ages. Concussions are a common sports injury, yet few people are aware of how devastating even minor concussions can be on the brain’s function.
The BIAA, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says on its website that between 1.6 – 3.8 million concussions occur in the United States because of sports and recreational activities.
“Concussions occur even if an athlete doesn’t lose consciousness,” the BIAA says, adding that concussions are “the most common type of brain injury sustained in sports.” Most concussions, in fact, do not involve loss of consciousness.
Concussions are classified as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) usually caused by a blow to the head or strong jolt. Indirect blows to other parts of the body often result in concussions. Such a blow can send an impulsive force to the head and cause a concussion.
Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, blurred vision or double vision, sensitivity to light or noise, headache, sluggishness or fatigue, fogginess, confusion, trouble concentrating, and trouble remembering. Symptoms can last weeks or months depending on the severity of the injury. Repeated concussions can have a cumulative effect over time and symptoms can become long-term or permanent.
Among school-age children, the five leading causes of concussion are bicycling, football, basketball, playground activity, and soccer.
BIAA and its affiliate organizations are organizing sports and concussion awareness events throughout the month of March. Parents can also find a wealth of information about protecting their children from brain injury at the BIAA’s website.