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What is a Concussion and When Should You be Concerned?

Presented by Northside Hospital Cherokee

Concussion in athletes continues to be a major public health concern. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. This is when the brain is “concussed” inside of the skull from either a direct impact, such as hit by a baseball or a whiplash-type motion in which the brain is concussed through the accelerated motion of the head when the head is snapped forwards and/or backwards.

Concussions are typically under-reported because there may not be any outwards signs or symptoms of a concussion or because the athlete may continue to compete without anyone realizing their injury.

But did you know that injuries resulting from playing baseball or softball account for the most frequent causes of emergency room visits?

Several new concussion-proof helmet designs are used by major, minor and little league baseball teams, but their degree of effectiveness in preventing concussion has yet to be demonstrated. However, the role of baseball helmets in preventing more serious head injuries has been well documented over the years.

The signs and symptoms of concussion include headache, fogginess, moodiness, nausea or vomiting, and irritability.

Additional signs or symptoms that an athlete may experience with a concussion include:

• Dizziness
• Delayed verbal/motor response
• Confusion/difficulty concentrating
• Disorientation
• Slurred or incoherent speech
• Ringing in the ears
• Inability to remember recent or past events
• Loss of consciousness
• Sleep disturbances
• Sensitivity to light
• Sensitivity to loud noises

Although the immediate effect of baseball and softball-related concussion is well known, long-term effects of a concussion need more study.

What is the time-frame for safe return-to-sports participation after a concussion?

If an athlete is completely asymptomatic at rest, meaning the athlete does not exhibit any signs or symptoms of a concussion and has returned to baseline levels as well as passed a clinical examination, he/she can return to playing.

If there are any questions or concerns about a concussion, please go to the emergency room immediately for a professional evaluation, or call 9-1-1.

Call Northside Hospital Cherokee at 770-720-5100 to find a sports medicine doctor to treat or evaluate your specific condition. Visit for more information. 

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