What is concussion?
“Traumatic brain injury” is the broad term used to describe injuries to the
brain that are caused by trauma. The more severe injuries typically involve
structural damage, such as fractures of the skull and bleeding in the brain.
Structural injuries require urgent medical attention. Concussion typically falls
into the milder spectrum of traumatic brain injury and reflects a disturbance
in brain function. Concussion does not involve structural damage or any
permanent injury to the brain tissue.
Concussion is caused by trauma to the brain, which can be either direct or
indirect (e.g. whiplash injury). When the forces transmitted to the brain are
high enough, they can "stun" the nerves and affect the way in which the brain
functions. This results in a range of symptoms and signs depending on the
area of the brain that is affected.
Common symptoms of concussion include:
headache, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, balance problems, fatigue
and feeling “not quite right”.
Other common features of concussion include
confusion, memory loss and reduced ability to think clearly and process
information. Loss of consciousness is seen in only 10-20% of cases of
concussion in Australian football. That is, the footballer does not have to
lose consciousness to have a concussion.
Because we are dealing with a functional injury rather than structural damage,
the changes are temporary and recover spontaneously if managed correctly.
The recovery process however, is variable from person to person and injury
to injury. Most cases of concussion in Australian football recover within 10-14
days of injury, however in a small number of cases, recovery is delayed over
weeks to months.
- Any player who has suffered a concussion or is suspected of having a
concussion must be medically assessed as soon as possible after the
injury and must not be allowed to return to play in the same game or
train in the same practice session
- There should be a trained first aider at every game and the principles
of first aid should be used when dealing with any player who is
unconscious or injured.
- A concussed player must not be allowed to return to school or return
to training or playing before having a formal medical clearance.
Please read the attached policy for concussion management.