Getting a sports concussion is serious, and what you do in those first few minutes, hours, and days can either help heal your brain or hurt it and set you up for lasting cognitive, emotional or psychological trouble.
Your skull is very hard for a reason. It’s designed to protect your brain—the magnificent organ that is 100% in charge of you. Made up of 200 billion neurons (brain cells) and trillions of connecting fibers that are essential for everything you do, the brain is surprisingly soft and extremely delicate. Inside the skull, it is held in place by many sharp bony ridges; however, if your head hits something or there is a force against your head, your brain can get injured by slamming into the ridges and other parts of the skull. When that happens, it is likely to result in a concussion.
Trauma to the brain can also occur without a direct blow to the head, such as with a whiplash injury. The sudden forward and backward or side-to-side motion can make the brain move around the inside of the skull. The force of those movements can cause shearing of the axons—the fibers that allow neurons to communicate with each other—which can then interfere with brain function.
Although it is the most complex organ in the known universe, the brain was simply not designed to take any kind of physical punishment. Therefore, hits, bumps, or any kind of injury to the head should never be ignored. Whether caused by a fall, sports collision, motor vehicle accident or being hit by an object—and even if your skull is intact or you were wearing a helmet concussion and the symptoms that result from them can be quite serious
WHAT TO DO AFTER A HEAD INJURY?
The first and most important thing to do after suffering head trauma is to seek medical care as soon as you can to be evaluated for a possible concussion or TBI. In addition to understanding the cause of your head injury, your doctor will assess for symptoms, such as:
– Loss of memory about the event
Head injuries can also cause bleeding in the brain which can be life-threatening and must be identified and treated immediately—often with surgery to release pressure on the brain. Although these cases are usually rare, it is imperative to get to an emergency room or call 911 as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms, along with the ones listed above:
– One of your pupils is larger than the other.
– You cannot stay awake.
– An increasingly painful headache
– Convulsions, seizures, or vomiting.
– Loss of consciousness–even if it was momentary.
– Balance, vision, speech, or movement problems
Fortunately, most head injuries don’t involve bleeding in the brain, but they still need to be taken seriously in order to avoid a deterioration of symptoms.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T IGNORE EVEN MILD HEAD INJURIES
All too often, mild head injuries are minimized or overlooked, but there can be long-term consequences for undiagnosed and untreated concussions. The residual damage to the brain can exacerbate or lead to an increased risk for mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, anger and aggression, cognitive problems and dementia —and even suicide. If your head is injured in any way, take it seriously and get the help you need right away, so you can start to recover in the healthiest and most expeditious way possible.
9 Strategies for Recovering from a Concussion
After being diagnosed with a concussion and following the advice and recommendations given to you by your doctor, the following 9 strategies* can also help you optimize your chance of a successful recovery:
- Support your brain with powerful antioxidants and nutritional supplements.
- Avoid strenuous activities such as working out, playing sports, or lifting heavy objects.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep at night and relax as much as possible during the day to
minimize stress on your body and brain.
- Limit time spent on the computer, TV, phone, or other screens because the light they
emit—or eyestrain from looking at devices—can worsen concussion symptoms.
- Keep away from alcohol and recreational drugs. They are harmful to your brain and can
extend your recovery time. You don’t need to add fuel to the fire!
- Stay well-hydrated with water and steer clear of caffeine.
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet with clean protein, lots of fresh greens, veggies, and
berries, and healthy fats like avocados.
– Be sure to include foods rich in Omega -3 fatty acids because they are critical for
building healthy cell membranes, including the ones in your brain—think salmon,
walnuts, and chia seeds.
– Eliminate sugar products and simple carbohydrates because they destabilize your blood
sugar, which leads to anxiety, irritability, and moodiness, plus they increase inflammation
in your body.
- Avoid any activity that increases your risk for another concussion! It could lead to a
a condition called second impact syndrome, which can cause permanent brain damage.
- Be patient. Rushing the recovery process can set you back. By taking it easy and giving
yourself the time needed for proper healing, you can potentially resume your regular
activities more quickly.
*PLEASE NOTE: These protocols are not a substitute for actual medical care. If you have not seen a doctor for your head injury, do that first. Concussions and head injuries can’t wait. Pure Sports Recovery specializes in advanced neuroscience programs for athletes for TBI, Substance Abuse, and Mental Wellness. Find out more by speaking with one of our experts 800- 714-0340