With winter sports in full swing and icy conditions being a part of everyday life in the Kootenays it is time to discuss concussions. According to the Mayo Clinic a concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. Effects are usually temporary, but can include problems with headache, concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination.
Although concussions usually are caused by a blow to the head, they can also occur when the head and upper body are violently shaken. These injuries can cause a loss of consciousness, but most concussions do not. Because of this, some people suffer concussions and don’t realize it.
Even though concussions are common they can be serious because every concussion injures your brain to some extent. This injury needs time and rest to heal properly. While skiing over the holidays I saw a sign that said ‘helmet rental – $7’. I believe that most of us think our brains are worth more than $7. Helmets don’t prevent 100% of concussions but they can reduce the likelihood of concussions and severity of head impacts. Besides wearing helmets while doing a lot of our winter activities, make sure you are wearing proper footwear to reduce slips and falls. Using other equipment such as poles when hiking and snowshoeing can provide more stability.
If you have suffered a head impact, car accident, fall or any other injury where you are concerned about a concussion, always contact your healthcare professional for testing and advice.