Concussions & The Brain Sydney Vaughn

Table of Contents

  • Dear Reader
  • Different Degrees of Concussions and Symptoms
  • Concussions in Male Brains vs. Female Brain
  • What Others Think
  • The Immature Brain
  • Personal Essay
  • Concussion Poem
  • Concussions by the Numbers
  • Treating Concussions in the Future
  • The Last Word

Dear Reader

A concussion is defined as a complex process that affects the brain, typically induced by trauma. It can be caused by either a direct blow to the head, or indirect blow to the body. Each year it is estimated that there are 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions that occur, yet 47% of concussions that happen have no symptom reports and go without diagnosing. I chose to research this topic because it is one that myself and many other athletes have experienced throughout our sporting careers. I put together research based on several different topics that I found most important to talk about and bring to the readers attention.

Different degrees and symptoms

Grade 1: Grade 1 concussion symptoms consist of brief memory loss, headache without loss of consciousness, and they usually most often happen during athletic competition. Dizziness, nausea, and blurry vision can linger for few days in minor capacities after the initial accident. When getting treated for a Grade 1 concussion, rest and no rush to get back into activity until symptoms disappear is the best option.

Grade 2: Grade 2 concussion symptoms consist of chances of unconsciousness up with to five minutes as well as initial symptoms that last up to a day. This grade may feature brief memory loss, headaches and confusion, and more a more serious version of grade 1 symptoms continued. When treating a Grade 2 concussion, ibufrofin is OK to take after an allotted amount of time to reduce the headaches occurring. 24 hour care by someone you know is a good idea to make sure there is no further symptoms developing.

Grade 3:Grade 3 concussions involve unconsciousness and lasting presence of the aforementioned symptoms. During this Grade, treatment is required immediately. This grade of concussion can last for weeks. In serious cases, amnesia can set in for more than a day. People suffering from these concussions can be found often repeating themselves and staring off into space as well as slow to respond in basic conversations or movements.

Concussions in Males vs. females

  • Females are less known or talked about when it comes to concussions even though they suffer more concussions than males, have more severe symptoms and are slower to recover.
  • Over a 5 year period, if 1000 athletes were exposed to concussions, 6.3 in females versus 3.4 in males in soccer, 6.0 in females versus 3.9 in males for basketball, and 3.3 in females versus 0.9 in males in baseball and softball.
  • Headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating are similar among both parties. Females are reported to have more sensitivity to light, noise, nausea, and drowsiness. The differences in severity does not start at birth, because babies and infants have the same symptoms and rates, but puberty however, is where the developmental fork in the road occurs for males and females.
  • There is no set answer to why this occurs yet. Hormones are one idea, but another that many may not think of is that females are more honest in reporting general injuries than males which could also be a factor in why their numbers are higher.

What others thInk

I asked 10 people that are close to me a few questions about concussions. These were my questions:

  • Have you ever had a concussion?
  • If so, how long ago or how recent?
  • Have you had multiple?
  • Have you ever had a concussion and not reported it?
  • How severe were your symptoms and your concussion as a whole?

From the research I did over these 10 people, 80% of them said they have had a concussion in their lifetime. Most have had one within he past five years, if not multiple through sports competition. 50% said they think they had one at some point but failed to tell a trainer or coach because they wanted to continue playing. Only 2 out of the 10 said that they suffered a Grade 2 or above concussion that caused them to become unconscious for a short period of time or have severe symptoms. All of these answers go hand in hand with the research I have done, and I split the number of interviewees down the middle between male and female. 3 males were some who said they failed to report their concussions, and the females are who said they have received multiple concussions. My severe concussion testers were previously or still playing football. It is interesting to hear about other people's concussion stories and base it off of the research I have done and my personal experiences with the head issue.

The Immature Brain

Young Childrens brains are more delicate. It is easier for nerve fibers to be torn apart. The brains of children are housed in large skulls because by the age of five a child has reached about 90% of skull growth but still sits on a small undersized neck. The brain is finished growing at the age of 25, so a “childs” brain continues through college. The frontal lobes are not fully developed in children because the brain developed from the bottom up and the back forward.

My Personal essY

I have been alive 22 years, I have played sports for 17 of them. I have had 4 concussions, 2 of them have been Grade 2, and one has gone without recognition. As a 3 sport athlete in high school I thought I was invincible. I thought no matter what I did, I wouldn't get hurt, and headaches were normal. I thought if I slept it off they would go away, and I was right... Eventually they did. I have a couple throughout high school, until soccer season my senior year where I took a ball straight to the face from 2 feet away. My eyes became black and blue and my memory was a little scattered, I sat out for a week and decided I was able to play again. I came to college and had one that was minor, but caused me to sit out for one game that happened over the course of a 3 days span my freshman year, and just like the rest of them I was OK to go after a day or two. But then last year happened, and the definition of concussion took another avenue in my life. Last year, I got a high Grade 2 concussion during a game. I was playing and ran into a girls shoulder with my temple, and my, entire right side went numb. I came out and said I was ok, which at that point I had a concussions already. I went back in and go hit even harder. To this day, I do not remember the fourth quarter of that game. I slept for days, and couldn't walk into the light for at least a week. I couldn't play in another game that semester, much less attend a practice. For weeks, I was not myself.. Physically I was there, mentally I could not hold a conversation, do homework, or even hang out with my friends, that is when my thoughts on concussions changed. To this day, a year later I still can tell some things are off, and I still struggle to remember things and recall certain memories. This is why I decided to do my project on Concussions & the Brain.

Concussion poem

Never have i felt so much pain, Explosion after explosion

Of pain, My head feels too heavy. For my weary neck and my stomach churns.

And i cant eat, or sleep. I cant think without my mind hurting.

Every light now, even at its dimmest Is too bright and it hurts,

and noise now kills me inside, there is just too much noise.

Im so scatter brained, Nothing makes sense.

I cant remember anything, and it scares me.

I cant do anything, And i hate it.

I cant move, Or ill hurt.

But i hurt If i dont move, Torture pure torture.

Thats what this is, God help me please because I just dont know how I will get through this if I'm alone laying in the darkness and silence,

That has become my only.

Concussions by the numbers

-1.6 and 3.8 million sports related concussions per year. -High school athletes sustain an estimated 300,000 concussions per year. -13.2% of all injuries in sports are concussions, 66.6% in games, 33.4% in practice. -For students 15-24, concussions are the 2nd leading cause of traumatic brain injury. -25% of concussion sufferers fail to get assessed by medical personnel.

Treating concussions in the future

There are 5 new Advancements that could change Treatment:

  1. Blood tests for brain injury
  2. Color Changing helmets
  3. Accelerometers in mounthguards and patches
  4. Concussion pills
  5. Remote controlled dummies that move on the field like a normal player to practice with.

The last worD

This is such a huge topic in sports, and year after year we hear about former athletes dying because they had taken too many hits to the head during their careers, I still wonder when we will say enough is enough, and players will no longer be allowed to play in hopes to not cut their lives shorter. The 5 advancements in the years to come excite me, and more than anything intrigue me. I am anxious to see the outcomes and how they work to keep athletes safe and healthy. If I could do anything differently the next time around I would focus more on the stories behind it, the people that have been through these Traumatic Brain Injuries, not once or even twice, but several times, I want to hear what they think and read about their experiences and if these brain injuries scare them, but why they continue to play these games against the odds, risking their lives.

The End

Created By
Sydney Vaughn

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