Concussions are a serious public health concern, but they’re also not as straightforward as they might appear. Patients don’t always present with symptoms immediately or clearly, and doctors don’t have clear guidelines for diagnosing them — which can lead to fatal delays in treatment. It’s why researchers from the University of Toronto and Ryerson University are trying to determine where concussions fall on the spectrum of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Say’s Dr.John Manzella, Researchers will be examining this issue over two years; initial research shows that many Canadians don’t even realize their condition is treatable, let alone life-threatening.
The rise in traumatic brain injury deaths is the result of “a perfect storm” of demographic, social and technologic factors
The rise in traumatic brain injury deaths is the result of “a perfect storm” of demographic, social and technologic factors.
The first factor is that more people are engaging in activities that pose a greater risk to their brains. More children are playing sports like football, which increases the likelihood of head injuries. In addition, many people are riding bicycles on city streets or trails where there is little room for error when they collide with motor vehicles or other objects.
Without a better understanding of the nature and biology of concussions, physicians are essentially flying blind when it comes to treatment.
Concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury. The brain is an organ that sits inside your skull and is surrounded by protective fluid, called cerebrospinal fluid. When the head or body is hit hard enough to cause a concussion, this energy travels through the skull and into your brain. This can cause bruising and swelling in some areas of the brain, which can alter how it works for hours or days after the injury occurs. The severity of symptoms you experience depends on where in your head you were injured and how hard it was hit.
A concussion may also be caused by shaking someone’s neck too forcefully or rotating their head while they are unconscious (such as when administering CPR).
A concussion diagnosis is straightforward, but there are no objective tests for clinicians to use when determining how to treat it.
Concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which means they result from a blow to the head that causes your brain to bounce around inside your skull. Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity and can happen without the victim being knocked unconscious.
In some cases, concussions may not be diagnosed for days or weeks after an injury occurs. This delay is due to several factors: confusion about what constitutes a concussion, confusion about whether a person has actually suffered from one and how severe it might be, and uncertainty over proper treatment options for concussions.
The number of traumatic brain injury deaths in Canada is on the rise
- The number of traumatic brain injury deaths in Canada is on the rise.
- The number of traumatic brain injury deaths in Canada has increased by 20% since 2010.
- The number of traumatic brain injury deaths in Canada has increased by 50% since 2000.
The bottom line is that there’s a lot of confusion around concussion diagnosis and treatment, and it’s hard to tell how many more people will die as a result. We need better understanding of the nature, biology and treatment options for this devastating injury before any real progress can be made in reducing its death toll. I think everyone—athletes, coaches, parents and doctors alike—would agree with this statement.