What is a concussion?

by Mar 9, 2022

A concussion is technically a type of traumatic brain injury, with the terms concussion and mild traumatic brain injury used interchangeably within the medical community. A concussion can therefore be defined as, “a traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces”, and is commonly seen after a blow to the skull during a sporting incident, or even a motor vehicle accident.1 

Concussion symptoms can vary greatly between individuals, and at times won’t even become apparent until hours after the initial injury or incident. 

Signs and Symptoms: 

  • Headaches, feeling dizzy or ‘in a fog’
  • Loss of consciousness or convulsions
  • Impairments while walking or balancing
  • Noticable changes in mood or behaviour
  • Dampened reaction times 
  • Sleep disturbances 

Coup v.s. Contrecoup: 

There are 3 different types of concussion injuries – coup, contrecoup and coup-contrecoup. 

  • Coup: Describes an injury to the brain directly below the site of trauma/contact – usually involving a stationary skull/brain and a moving object
  • Contrecoup: Describes an injury that is on the opposite side of the brain to where the original trauma occurred, and are often harder to diagnose due to their location – classically involve a moving skull/brain striking a stationary object
  • Coup-contrecoup: A combination of the above injuries, involving the brain at both the site of impact and at a point directly opposite – these are the most dangerous form of concussion2

Moving Forwards: 

Concussion testing and management are now being prioritised by many high-level sporting organisations around the world, as the long-term effects of multiple blows to the head or neck are becoming more apparent. For example, every time a batsman in a first-class cricket match is struck on the helmet, a doctor must assess the player, and compare their results on the field to baseline results recorded at the beginning of the season, to determine whether the player is fit to continue participating in the match. 

A battery of tests and clinical frameworks for the management of mild traumatic brain injury exist and are constantly evolving as new evidence and information regarding concussions continue to come to light. 

At WiSE our doctors can treat any kind of injuries including head injuries, diagnostics will be performed and analysed onsite to provide you with the best management plan. If required our experienced team of physiotherapists is available for follow up treatment, for more information visit their website here

References: 

  1. McCrory P, Meeuwisse WH, Dvorak J, et al. Consensus statement on concussion in sport: The 5th international conference on concussion in sport, Berlin, October 2016. Bri J Sport Med. 2017;51:838-847 
  1. Drew LB, Drew WE. The contrecoup-coup phenomenon: a new understanding of the mechanism of closed head injury. Neurocrit Care. 2004;1(3):385-90

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