Taking precaution to prevent concussions

March 27, 2013

Topic: injury prevention

Taking precaution to prevent concussion

Injury prevention of the brain can be done before, during and after any mishap. A significant portion of head injuries occur in athletics, meaning that players should exercise as much care in avoiding accidents as health professionals take in treating them. 

Precautions prior to play
Before entering the field, certain steps may be taken by athletic players to ward off common sports injuries to the brain. According to the New York Department of Health, those participating in organized sports should consistently wear the correct protective equipment. In the case of head protection, a well-fitted helmet is most crucial.

However, with many contact sports, including soccer and football, concussions inevitably occur. According to a 2007 study in the Journal of Athletic Training, 8.9 percent of high school and 5.8 percent of collegiate sports injuries were concussions. 

Once these mishaps do occur, extreme care should be implemented to not only treat the injury, but prevent future ones from occurring.

Treating the injury
According to a recent Health Day report, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine put forth new material on treating concussions in 2012. With this, the AMSSM aimed to make the concussion recovery process more individualized and less standardized. 

Kimberly Harmon, M.D., is the lead author of this new compilation. She and her colleagues believe that there is a lot to consider when evaluating a concussed patient.

"It is important that whoever works most regularly with the athlete reviews his or her treatment against the athlete's history, behavior and risk factors to understand the best person-centered care plan," said Harmon in a statement.

Putting the brain injury in the context of the patient's medical history makes this a thorough approach.

Different levels of injury
The severity of head injuries varies, so it is important to evaluate these mishaps accordingly. 

A 2013 study from the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke discusses how conducting brain imaging shortly after an injury allows specialists to see damage wrought by both mild and severe concussions. 

According to the study, milder concussions or head injuries cause tiny brain lesions that differ from those of more severe incidents. In being able to differentiate these lesions, different procedures may be implemented to treat the less extreme cases more effectively.

This is an example of the fine-tuned way the medical field handles brain injuries after they occur. Before they happen, though, it is up to the athletes themselves to take necessary precautions through safe, protected play. 

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