At a recent Safe and Fun Hockey event put on my Chevrolet Canada, Dr. Charles Tator, Professor of Neurosurgery, was invited to speak to parents about concussion symptoms, treatments, and awareness.
What is a concussion?
When you get a bang on the head, the brain moves within the skull and helmet and that’s what causes concussion.
Dr Tator passed “a brain” around the room and to show what it is like, he used a jello mould to show how delicate our brains are. Concussions have an immediate effect on the brain. For most people, it’s temporary. It lasts a few days and it’s over.
But, if you go back too soon after a concussion, you can have long term effects. So recognizing a concussion and taking the appropriate time off before resuming activity is important.
How do you diagnose a concussion?
A concussion needs a clinical diagnosis and depends on the knowledge of the doctor and the honesty of the patient. This is why you see professional athletes taken to a quiet room to determine their injury with a protocol. You can’t use a CT Scan or an MRI, it’s a conversation between a doctor and patient.
Amnesia, loss of consciousness, headaches, dizziness, nausea, poor concentration, loss of vision.. Some of the symptoms can be very subtle. Again, the patient has to be honest with staff about the symptoms.
The next day you might have memory loss, fatigue, blurred vision, vertigo, insomnia. You have to keep watching the patient to see if symptoms linger. A young girl spoke about her concussion and her mother noted a definite change in mood.
What to do when you recognize that a player has suffered a concussion
Bring kids back to play and school gradually after a concussion. After the numerous concussions that Sidney Crosby experienced, the acceptance, treatment, and knowledge of concussions has improved.
There are 6 steps to concussion recovery and each one must be passed before moving ahead in treatment. Sid was at Step 4 for an entire summer before moving forward.
Parents can take an online Concussion Education Course created by Dr Tator with ParachuteCanada.org. Sign up through safeandfunhockey.ca. The best way to prevent a concussion is to have your kids equipped properly. Here’s how to size a hockey helmet.