Football player tackled by opposing team

Concussions: Don't shake it off

An athlete takes a hard blow to the head during a game. Feeling dizzy and slightly nauseous, she continues playing; not aware that she’s feeling the classic symptoms of a concussion.

This is a common scenario physicians have worked to change over the last 10 to 15 years, according to Medical Group of the Carolinas Sports Medicine Institute physician, John Lucas, MD.

“Ten years ago, if you took a hit to the head and you were a little bit dazed a few seconds, you may have been told to get up and shake it off,” Lucas said. “Now, we are a lot more serious on how we define and treat concussion. The medical community has really pushed to get people to understand both the immediate and potential long-term implications of head injuries.”

A concussion is a type of head injury that affects the way your brain functions. Symptoms of a concussion vary but may include a headache or pressure in the head, temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, dizziness, ringing in the ears or nausea. You do not have to lose consciousness to have a concussion, which is a common misconception. 

“For the most part, the treatment of concussion is and has always been rest,” Lucas said. “Approximately 80 percent of concussions resolve within 7 to 10 days without any intervention. What used to be called ‘getting your bell rung’ is now defined as concussion. There are no ‘dings’ anymore. I definitely think we have broadened what we define as concussion.”

For more information about concussions and how to stay safe while playing sports, please call 864-560-BONE (2663).