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What Is A Concussion?
“Concussions are defined as a COMPLEX pathophysiological process affecting the brain induced by traumatic biomechanical forces.” (Zurich, 2008)
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that results from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth creating a whiplash effect. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells (axons) and creating biochemical changes in the brain not due to bleeding, tearing or bruising of the brain. Concussions result in temporary alteration of mental functioning. Furthermore this can include physical, emotional/social, cognitive symptoms and sleep disturbances. Signs and symptoms can be delayed appearing hours or days later. Concussions cannot be seen on X-ray or CT scan. Concussions do not have to be a result of loss of consciousness. When a student is injured and has a second concussion while he/she still has symptoms from a previous concussion which can lead to permanent disability and even death. The second injury may be very mild but can progress and have serious consequences.
Concussions are caused by a sudden shift of the brain in the skull. This quick shifting of the brain causes the brain to have altered function and metabolic properties resulting in a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Even blows to the body, face or head can result in shearing effects leading to rotation injuries as well as flexion/extension injuries.
Note: Most gold standard imaging techniques such as MRI and CT will also show up as negative.
Concussion/mTBI is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces. Several common features that incorporate clinical, pathologic, and biomechanical injury constructs that may be utilized in defining the nature of a concussion/mTBI include:
1. Concussion/mTBI may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an‘‘impulsive’ force transmitted to the head.
2. Concussion/mTBI typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function thatresolvesspontaneously. However, in some cases, symptoms and signs may evolve over a number of minutes tohours.
3. Concussion/mTBI may result in neuropathological changes, but the acute clinical symptoms largely reflect a functional disturbance rather than a structural injury and, as such, no abnormality is seen on standard structural neuroimaging studies.
4. Concussion/mTBI results in a graded set of clinical symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousnessResolution of the clinical and cognitive symptoms typically follows a sequential course. However, it is important to note that in some cases symptoms may be prolonged. (MTBI guidelines)