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Concussions: The Hard-Hitting Facts

10:05 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
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In many sports, the harder the hit, the louder the fans yell, but sometimes the outcome of a big blow isn't something to cheer about, like a concussion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one out of every ten athletes in a contact sport will get a concussion each season.

They also estimate that 3.8 million concussions happen each year in the United States with around 70% of them going undiagnosed.

When many people think of concussions, football automatically comes to mind, but women's soccer is the second leading sport for the brain injury.

When the brain moves around inside your head and hits the walls of your skull, that's when a concussion can happen.

It doesn't always take a big blow to do the trick either. Purdue University researchers found that a series of smaller hits can have the same result.

And most happen without the athlete ever losing consciousness.

According to the Concussion Coalition, almost half of players don't report feeling any symptoms after a concussive hit. In some cases, an athlete won't show any signs until almost three days later.

Some of the common signs include dizziness, headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, and behavior changes.

Dr. Kevin Stevenson, a neurosurgeon with Piedmont Orthopedics, says education plays a key role in both the prevention and treatment of concussions.

He says there are several misconceptions about the brain injury. Many of his patients immediately go to the emergency room if they have a concussion to get an MRI or CT scan, but those scans will not show a concussion. He says if the athlete's condition continues to get worse or they lose consciousness, then a CT or MRI may be necessary to check for any other types of brain damage.

Folks from Piedmont Orthopedics, including Dr. Stevenson, will speak at a free community forum on October 16th. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at Mabel White Baptist Church Baptist Church on Bass Road.

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