It has become common to hear discussions about concussions, partially due to increasing awareness within professional sports. However, we do not all play professional sports, so what factors in everyday life create concussion risks?
Jarring of the brain in any direction may cause a person to lose consciousness. The more severe the jarring, the more time it may take to recover consciousness. A person with a concussion may not always lose consciousness, but he or she may describe seeing stars or seeing in black and white. The injured person may not even realize how severe the injury is.
The most common cause of concussion is participation in high-impact sports, such as football, soccer, hockey, or boxing. The risk of injury is decreased when proper safety equipment is worn. Professional supervision also decreases the risk of concussion. One of the age groups at highest risk is males ages 15-24. Among females, soccer players suffer the most concussions.
Age is a risk factor for concussion. The high-risk age groups are children ages 5 and under, young adults aged 15-24, and people more than 75 years old. Most concussions among the elderly resulted from falls, so it is important for this age group to have a clutter-free environment, companionship, and supervision while taking medication.
Children often suffer concussions due to falls. Increased supervision, a clutter-free environment, and gates on stairways will reduce the risk of injury for children. Proper use of child safety seats in the car also reduces concussion risk. Children should always sit in the back seat of the car until they are 12 years old, and proper seat belt use is mandatory.
Children love to jump on furniture and climb trees, but parents must carefully supervise any playtime activities to limit the chance of a fall. Playgrounds, especially beneath swings or monkey bars, should have some type of material to cushion falls, such as wood chips.
Automobile accidents cause a high percentage of concussions, and the risk factors increase with traveling at high speeds, use of alcohol while driving, and lack of proper sleep. Medications that cause drowsiness also contribute to concussions.
Certain occupations carry a higher risk for injury and concussion. Construction, farming, racing, and logging are high-risk fields.