What is concussion?
- Concussion refers to a disturbance in brain function caused by a direct or indirect force to the head.
- Concussion results in temporary loss of brain skills such as memory and thinking.
- Usually the changes are temporary and the majority of people recover completely if managed correctly.
- Concussion does not involve structural damage or any permanent injury to the brain.
How common is concussion?
- Concussion is a common problem in many sports especially those involving body contact, collision or high speed.
- In Australia common participation sports such as Australian Rules Football, Rugby League and Rugby Union have high rates of concussion.
- Concussion is also highly associated with netball, soccer, cricket, martial arts and equestrian.
- Concussion is more common in children than any other age group.
What about Recovery?
- The process of recovery varies on a case by case basis.
- In most instances (80-90%), recovery occurs within 10-14 days of injury, however in a small number of cases recovery is delayed over weeks to months.
Are there any complications?
- In general, complications are not common.
- The risk of complication is increased by allowing a player to return to play before they have fully recovered.
- It is extremely important to recognise concussion and keep the player out of training and competition until they have fully recovered.
- Some potential complications following concussion can include:
- Higher risk of injury or repeated concussion on return to play
- Prolonged symptoms (lasting more than 14 days)
- Depression and other mental health issues
- Severe brain swelling (particularly in young players)
- Long term damage to brain function