Minding your brain
CONCUSSIONS REQUIRE LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO RECOVER FROM THE INJURY
Maybe you fell off your bike and landed on your head. Maybe you were involved in an action sport, you weren’t wearing a helmet and your head took a hard hit. Perhaps you even lost consciousness for a few seconds. Guess what? You may have gotten a concussion. But even if it’s a very mild concussion, in which your brain didn’t slam into your skull with a whole lot of force, it’s still considered a TBI (traumatic brain injury). Your brain will need time to recover, and you will have to make lifestyle changes to allow that recovery.
The American National Football League (NFL) is getting a lot of news headlines because of repeated concussions suffered by their players, which over time may result in a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. This condition causes symptoms of both depression and dementia. But players often want to get back on the field as soon as possible, even after a hard hit to the head. However, when a player’s brain is not given enough time to heal after a concussion, CTE can be the result.
A lot of folks don’t realise when they’ve suffered a concussion, because they’re not familiar with the symptoms. But if you’re an athlete, or an active person, you should be aware of the signs of this brain injury, especially when there has been a loss of consciousness, even if only for seconds. The first symptom is confusion, like “What just happened?” You may try to stand up, but feel dizzy. There may be flashes of light in your vision, like seeing stars.
A more serious concussion can result in a kind of amnesia. Someone may explain what happened to a person who just suffered a concussion, but they may ask the same question over and over again. There is often a ringing in the ears, with nausea or even vomiting when the concussion is severe.
The best and quickest way to recover from a concussion is brain rest. That actually means resting the brain, not using it. Mild brain use is OK, but those with concussions should avoid studying or trying to learn something new. Forcing oneself to concentrate or pay attention to previously unknown knowledge will only prolong the duration of the brain injury, requiring additional healing time.