Friday, July 8, 2016

A Note on Concussions by Beth "Freesia" Tozier

We can tease all we want, but in a game with headshots, close combat, and at times body contact, concussions are no joke. And so I ask you; can you spot a concussion?

Let’s ask the first, and most important question; what is a concussion?

According to the CDC:
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.

Concussions can range from mild to severe and so can the symptoms. Many people in our game do not know the signs of a concussion. So, let’s run through them really quickly.

Concussion Signs REPORTED (this is what the injured party may tell you):

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

Concussion signs OBSERVED (what the assessor sees):

  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.

Concussion symptoms may appear mild at first, but could increase in severity after just a few hours or as long as a few days after the injury occurred. The CDC recommends that you check for more severe symptoms for several days after being injured.

So, what action should be taken after a potential concussion?

  • The player should be removed from the field and sat in a safe location. If a hold was called, a marshal or a member of staff can call a lay-on once the concussed is removed from further danger. No one likes to sit out, but a friend or countryman should sit with the person hurt, just so someone is there.
  • If symptoms persist or become rapidly more severe, take your concussed buddy to the hospital or nearest urgent care center. 

 What signs are there that tell you it is severe enough for the hospital or urgent care?

  • Continued dizziness or feeling of being “off”. 
  • Vomiting, nausea, numbness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A worsening headache
  •  Unusual behavior
These are just the basics. A medical professional should be the one to officially diagnose a concussion, but we should all know the signs for our friends and our community.

Lucky for the Realms as a whole, anyone can be trained to recognize Concussion Symptoms. The CDC has a FREE online resource where you and any member of your nation can be certified to recognize, and recommend action for, anyone who receives a potential concussion.

Be safe, have fun, and I’ll see you on the field.

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