When one hears “concussion,” he is quick to imagine a boxer, a football player, a soccer player, or other athletes. Concussions can occur in other situations but because of the frequency of sports related concussions, these are studied more closely. The two general categories are sports-related concussion (SRC), which occurs while engaged in game-like situations, and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), which occurs outside the sports arena, such as a car accident. Concussions result in numerous short term and long term physical and psychological symptoms as a result of physical damage to the brain in people of all ages. Physiologically, SRCs and mTBIs result in similar damage to the brain.
Within the protective skull, the brain floats in a substance called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which cushions and allows the brain some resilience against mild forces. When one experiences blunt force trauma to his head, the brain moves within the CSF and hits the rough walls of the interior of the cranium. The brain matter can then twist, stretch, and rotate, damaging or completely destroying neurons of the brain. The neurons can be squeezed and be unable to cause an action potential in the next neuron. “It has become clear that, in the minutes to days after concussive brain injury, brain cells that are not irreversibly destroyed remain alive but in a vulnerable state.” This vulnerable state can lead to damage that would normally have no effect on a healthy neuron.
Also, in this vulnerable state, second impact syndrome becomes a risk that must be carefully guarded against. As the name suggests, second impact syndrome occurs when a young person (usually an athlete), receives another blow to the head within a few days or weeks of the his origi. .ckily, these same researchers found that “…concussed athletes in team sports seem to have fewer long term problems.”7 This follows logically from the previous findings that an individual athlete feels more hopeless than a team sport athlete. A supportive group hoping for a patient’s recovery can boost mental health, which can prevent a decrease in physical health.
This is vital for those who have had numerous brain injuries in the past. Concussions, whether from sports-related events or not, cause both short and long term psychological effects as the result of physical damage for people of varying ages. Brain injuries are not to be taken lightly and should be treated with the utmost care. A person only gets one brain and whether they are a professional athlete or not, they will need it for the rest of their lives. Hopefully, it is psychologically sound by the end.