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Concussions in Sports and Return to Play Guidlines - Essay Example

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Concussion is a common though dangerous occurrence in contact sport. According to American Academy of Neurology, Concussion is a "trauma-induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Confusion and amnesia are the hallmarks of concussion." [AAN, 1997] In sports, concussion is just another term for mild head injury…
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Concussions in Sports and Return to Play Guidlines

Download file to see previous pages... He hit his head on the turf, lost consciousness and when he regained consciousness, he remembered nothing of the incident. On the same day, in another game, Troy Aikman, one of the starting quarterbacks had to leave the game when he was kneed in the head. His condition was also termed as a concussion. Two players getting hit in the head on the same day is a rare occurrence because mild head trauma is limited to 2% and 10% for any athlete and this calls for some attention to incidence of concussion in various sports.
The word 'Concussion' induces horrible images of permanent brain damage. But there is a) low probability of an athlete being hit in the head and 2) the return and full recovery are often rapid. However there have been more complicated cases where effects of concussions lasted a very long time. (e.g., Barth et al., 1983; Rimel, Giordani, Barth, Boll, & Jane, 1981). A growing body of literature, thought not vast yet, focuses on the occurrence and effects of concussion in various contact sports including boxing, football, and soccer. It was found that while professional athletes can serve as good cases studies for various related researches, they usually do not report every injury making it difficult to gather accurate data on the incidence of injuries in sports. Athletes underreport for fear of sabotaging their chances of playing in coming games. (Gerberich, Priest, Boen, Staub, & Maxwell, 1983).

What is a Concussion or Mild Trauma

The study of concussion in sports is relatively new considering that literature available is barely 15-20 years old. Attention is being paid to the process by which concussion cases mild head injury and the subsequent post concussive symptoms that result. Concussion or mild head injury refers to blow to the head which may or may not be followed by loss of consciousness but causing an alteration in awareness. Though no serious lesions are noticed on brain in the case of concussions, some contusions may be found on the frontal and temporal lobes. The white matter in the brain is affected and some shearing might be caused to neuronal axons (Duckett & Duckett, 1993). Acute and chronic alterations in neurochemical functions are also reported following a head injury (Dixon, Taft, & Hayes, 1993). The problem with CT and MRI scans is that while they can detect serious signs of severe injury such as swelling or bleeding, they may fail to notice lesions caused by concussion.

Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is used to measure and categorize injury. With a score of 13 or above for example, injury is considered mild. However while this scale along with other factors just as length of unconsciousness and length of stay in the hospital are used to categorize concussion and resulting head injury, there is still a serious lack of consensus ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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