SHREVEPORT, La. — It’s the first Friday in October. And you know what that means— Friday Football Fever is tonight, college football teams meet on Saturday and the pros face off Sunday and Monday.
Along with the excitement of football season, the possibility of injuries also exists. And injuries to the head can be especially dangerous and have long term consequences.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head. The brain bounces around inside the skull. That quick movement can cause bruising of the brain and changes in its cells, nerves and chemicals.
Dr. Charles Webb, the director of the sports medicine division of Ochsner LSU Health, said with sports seasons at their peak, it is also the peak season for concussions. So, it is important to know the signs.
“So the most likely one is they're going to end up being somewhat confused, they're not going to be able to think straight, they're not going to be able to concentrate or focus on a task for very long at all,” said Webb. “They'll also have headaches, they will have insomnia, anxiety, mood disorders where their moods will become very labile. One minute, they'll be happy and the next minute, they'll be sad or upset or frustrated.”
Webb said the best way to treat a concussion is to rest the brain. So, the old directive of keeping someone from going to sleep is no longer advised.
“Yes, that's an old wives tale. That went away,” he said. “Now according to the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine, you let them sleep. Sleep is actually one of the treatments, because that's the best way to decrease the stimulation going into your brain. So if you're sleeping, your brain is shut down, and is resting, and that's what it needs to do to recover from the concussion.”
Webb says watching TV or looking phone or tablet screens is not a good idea, because doing so keeps the mind active.
And the affected person should not return to the field or do any vigorous activity until the concussion is healed.