Concussions: What You Need to Know


The traumatic brain injury was known to be found in boxers since the 1920s. But now Omalo looked at how retired football players could be experiencing the degenerating condition.

Boston University’s CTE Center lists symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, aggression, depression, and dementia. Recent deaths and suicides of retired players have researchers looking at how CTE is contributing.

The recent studies on CTE are changing the way that we are think about concussions. First, know the symptoms of a concussion.

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Feeling Irritable
  • Sleepy
  • Amnesia
  • Dizziness, vertigo
  • Difficulty focusing, felling “foggy,” dazed
  • Decreased coordination
  • Intolerant of lights and noises

Concussions occur when the brain is slammed, shaken against the skull. It could from a hard hit to even a light fall. You don’t have to be “knocked out” or lose consciousness to have a concussion. They can occur anywhere from a car accident, bike crash, to a hard hit during any sports. The key to preventing them are obeying the safety precautions. Always where a seat belt in a car and adhere to safety laws about car seats. Where the proper sports equipment during recreational activity.

The new attention to concussions did not shed too much about how they happen. That had already been known for the most part. But what the reaction did was help with showing how concussions should be handled.

In sports there has been a mentality of “walk it off” and that’s a dangerous ideology. The new motto is “when it doubt, sit it out” because it’s being made clearer that immediate rest is crucial to letting the brain heal. Now the focus is on treating every concussion – large or small – as a serious brain trauma.

New protocols are happening through major sports like the NFL, NHL and the NCAA. According to Utah state law, athletes with a possible concussion must be removed from the event. Concussed athletes are not allowed to play again until medically cleared. One of the main reason is those with current concussions are vulnerable to more dangerous repeated concussions.

If you suspect you or your family, friends, athletes have a concussion – rest and go see a doctor. The healing time for concussions take a few days to up to three weeks to heal. So it is very important to heal completely from each concussion.

Visit a doctor, who will diagnosis and find the severity, and then take steps to allow your brain time to heal:

  • Get plenty of sleep and rest during the day
  • Avoid physical activity
  • Avoid tasks that take a lot of concentrating like computers, video games  

By changing the stigma of concussions and emphasizing the seriousness, hopefully there can be a change in how we treat them. You can find more information on Intermountain Healthcare’s concussion section or you can reach the Intermountain Concussion Care hotline at 801-442-2663 (BONE).