Every year, United States emergency departments treat an estimated 173,285 sports-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions.

Concussions are unlike other sports injuries in that they are more difficult to prevent. Traumatic brain injuries aren’t like overuse injuries that can be prevented by pre-workout stretches and other prehabilitation methods such as massage therapy. Concussions are usually caused by sudden, unpredictable accidents that can cause long-term damage to the brain. Although concussions are more difficult to prevent than other sports injuries, if identified early on, concussions can be treated and healed as effectively as other injuries. That’s why we’ve provided the following tips on how to identify and seek treatment for your concussion.

What Is A Concussion?

Before attempting to identify the severity of a brain injury, you should know what a concussion is. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can occur when you hit your head on an object, when an object strikes your head, or when your head is jerked into an unnatural position. If you participate in a contact sport such as football, rugby, hockey, martial arts, or any sports that involves tackling, you are at a higher risk for concussions.

When your head is hit, the forces of the impact cause the brain to bump into the inside of the skull at the point of impact, as well as the opposite side of the skull. This forceful bouncing results in bruising of the brain. When identified, the effects of a concussion can be reversed. However, if left untreated, what may have begun as minor bruising can lead to long-term damage to the brain.

How To Identify A Concussion

1.) Contact A Medical Professional

When a concussion is sustained, no matter what the perceived level of severity is, stop all activity and seek medical help immediately. Even if you think your symptoms are the result of a minor bump on the head, double checking with a medical professional could prevent long-term brain damage. According to Mayo Clinic, people who suffer from a concussion double their risk of developing epilepsy within the first five years after the injury. Contacting a medical professional and receiving the necessary treatment can significantly reduce your risk of long-term brain trauma.

2.) Identify The Severity Of The Concussion

Forceful jostling of the brain can often result in a loss of consciousness, although it is possible to sustain a concussion without losing consciousness. In fact, according to WebMD, there are three basic levels of symptoms that can be used to characterize the severity of a concussion. These are not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional.

Level 1

You remain conscious, but are confused and unable to think clearly for about 15 minutes.

Level 2

You are still conscious, but you are confused and may experience memory loss for more than 15 minutes.

Level 3

You are knocked unconscious. When you regain consciousness, you have difficulty moving and thinking clearly.

3.) Recognize Your Secondary Symptoms

The way you feel and act during the days following the initial injury can be very helpful in determining the severity of your concussion. A variety of side effects can emerge during the hours and days following the trauma. It is important for you to schedule a follow-up appointment with your medical professional in order to monitor these secondary tissue damages. They are frequently the cause of long-term effects including brain damage, cognitive deficits, psychosocial, behavioral, or emotional changes, bodily damage and biochemical changes at the cellular level. Some of the secondary side effects you may notice include increased irritability, headaches, dizziness, thinking difficulties, and dizziness. These effects can last for a couple of days, weeks or even months.

When treated properly, the effects of concussions can be reversed. The whole-body approach of chiropractic care is one way to help reconnect the dots as you’re rehabilitating from the injury.

How do you prevent sports injuries? Have you sustained a concussion? Tell us about it in a comment below!