Anatomy Paper, Sports Medicine
17 January 2012
Concussions in Soccer
Although often overlooked, concussions can be one of the most serious injuries a soccer player can face in their sports career. Many athletes in contact sports focus on getting playing time and showing others their skills and ignore what their bodies are telling them. Often times, athletes will brush off injuries because they feel it is normal, especially in popular sports such as soccer. Soccer has become the second most popular sport among children and every child will at least kick a soccer ball around at some point in their lives. When it comes to injuries that involve vital organs like the brain, any signs of injury should not be ignored. About one out of ten contact sports players this season will receive a concussion. Many soccer players pride themselves on being strong and can handle anything and always want to show the scouts their foot skills, but a lot of times that thinking gets them in trouble. When left undiagnosed and untreated concussions can cause many more problems down the line that could end an athlete’s career forever. All of this and more is discussed in an article released in Public Heath Reports. Concussions most commonly occur when extreme force is placed on the cranial cavity. The force can either directly affect the brain, or the brain can be thrown forward and hit the skull. This can cause damage to the brain and neurons. If left unrecognized or untreated a concussion can cause further damage to the brain and its function. Since a concussion cannot be physically seen, many players and coaches do not take seriously the severity of its harm to the body. Many times there are no obvious signs of a concussion other than common pains such as a headache or nausea. Usually when brain or head injuries occur, a scan is taken of the cranial cavity to assess the damage. However, scans such as an MRI, CT, or EEG will not identify a concussion. Most concussions do not present physical signs of damage on the brain, but instead show cognitive and coordination setbacks. They can cause a decrease in brain function which can cause the player to show signs such as nausea, lack of coordination of the eyes or body movement, problems sleeping, drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, mood swings, and blurry vision. Symptoms can be more or less severe depending on the amount of impact placed on the brain. It is important to understand key signs of concussions such as problems walking, talking, seeing, or experiencing nausea and headaches. If common signs can be recognized in an athlete steps can then be taken to diagnose and treat the concussion. To diagnose and treat a concussion, cognitive tests from trained doctors and specialists can allow proper treatment of the injury. To diagnose a concussion often athletes will go through a series of test from a doctor. Many times the best way to diagnose a concussion is by going through a cognitive test. If the brain has been concussed often times the athlete will not be able to walk straight lines, follow fingers with an eye, become dizzy easily, or focus on objects or conversations. A specialist can put the athlete through tests such as walking, focusing on objects, or gripping objects to see how their body reacts. Depending on how the athlete reacts, a specialist will usually be able to diagnose them. If the concussion is very serious it can also lead to a brain bleed which is usually diagnosed by scans such as an MRI or EGG. Once a player is diagnosed with a concussion, the healing process must start which takes a lot of patience and relaxation from the victim. Since the only way to heal from a concussion is relaxation to allow time for the brain to heal, many athletes return to sports too early. All concussions are different, and depending on the force exerted when the concussion occurred, the severity will affect recovery time. For some it may only take days to recover. However,...
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