Superbowl LII- Concussion rears its head again
What a game last Sunday at The U.S. Bank Stadium. The New England Patriots were back in the Superbowl for their eighth appearance since 2002 whilst the Philadelphia Eagles showed up for their first appearance since 2005. A contest they lost..…to the Patriots. Much of the pre-game talk for the Patriots was about the health of tight end Rob Gronkowski, after a helmet to helmet hit from Jaguars safety, Barry Church, late in the first half of the Patriots game against Jacksonville. Gronkowski went through a detailed neurological assessment which likely included checking his alertness and cognitive ability, plus his visual system, speech capacity, balance, and movement coordination. He managed to successfully rehabilitate through his return to play protocol, having been monitored very closely by the medical team.
What happens to the brain when you get a blow to the head? Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. While the blow to the head may cause pain, the pathology leading to concussion occurs inside the skull in the tissues of the brain. Although the exact pathophysiology is not fully understood, current understanding suggests that the impulse to the brain causes shearing in and between the cells, which leads to changes in the finely balanced biochemistry and permeability of the blood vessels, cell walls and blood brain barrier. This leads to the initial or acute presentation of the concussion, where people can describe suffering headaches, dizziness, tinnitus and sensitivity to sound, light sensitivity, blurred vision, foggy thinking, poor concentration and variable moods or changes in their emotional regulation.
How to recover from a concussion?
A concussion should be diagnosed by your primary care practitioner (i.e. Doctor, Physiotherapist etc.). Typically the first few days comprise of monitoring the symptoms, and resting. Should symptoms worsen (e.g. more intense headaches, or repeated vomiting etc) it is very important that you seek medical support at the nearest Accident and Emergency Department.
As your symptoms settle down and your capacities start to improve a trained practitioner can support you through the steps of your return to work/ school/ play.
It is very important that you follow your protocol closely as the brain and the central nervous system are in a vulnerable state whilst recovering from a concussion, and re-injury during this phase can lead to a protracted recovery, a more severe injury, or even death.
Gronkowski was very tightly marked during a fantastic display by The Eagles but he can look back proudly on a fantastic recovery from this serious injury!
If you have any questions about concussion, or if you have suffered a concussion and would like support whilst recovering, please give us a call :
01 496 4002
Book a session in https://personalhealth.ie/ to see our Chartered Physiotherapist, Mark Hynes. Mark has extensive knowledge of concussion rehabilitation following a period of specialisation in Vancouver, Canada.