CONCUSSION AND POST CONCUSSION SYNDROME
A concussion is considered a mild form of traumatic brain injury, characterized by a complex pathophysiological process that disrupts brain function, resulting from biomechanical forces. The following criteria are useful in identifying a concussion:
- Concussions can occur from a direct impact to the head, face, neck, or from a blow elsewhere on the body that transmits an “impulsive” force to the head. This includes scenarios like a tackle in sports, which may not involve a direct hit but can cause a whiplash effect, making the brain move rapidly within the skull.
- The onset of concussion symptoms is typically swift, presenting a temporary impairment of neurological functions that tends to resolve on its own. Nonetheless, the manifestation of symptoms and signs might develop over several minutes to hours.
- While concussions can lead to changes at the neuropathological level, the immediate clinical symptoms primarily indicate a functional disruption rather than structural damage. Hence, standard neuroimaging tests usually do not show any abnormalities.
- The symptoms of a concussion vary in severity and may include loss of consciousness. The recovery process involves a gradual resolution of clinical and cognitive symptoms, although it’s crucial to acknowledge that, in certain instances, these symptoms can persist for an extended period.
Individuals most susceptible to concussions encompass young males aged 15-24 engaged in sports such as Australian Rules Football (AFL), American Football (NFL), hockey, soccer, wrestling, and boxing. Additionally, females, especially those older than 65, are at an elevated risk due to a higher likelihood of falls. Military personnel, individuals who have experienced abuse, and those involved in vehicular accidents also face a significant risk of sustaining concussions.