Today’s a new day for my posts!

Donna said something, that kinda made me .  She’d said that I should do blog-posts, as opposed to simply posting on Facebook, because they’re basically the same thing, but the blog is the “best place” to write them.  The reason that I’d sigh’d was that it wasn’t the first time she’d said that.

 

This morning I remembered that, and made the decision that that will be the last time that she asks me that.  I’m going to write here, on BrainSTRONG’s blog, and circulate it.  I’m not sure what I’ll write, but I’m thinking, and I never actually-planned my social media posts, so the only difference is that it’ll be on the blog (first) and then circulated.  However, it’ll be superior because with an auto-posting plug-in, it’ll distribute pretty much everywhere, right away!

Glasgow Coma Scale

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a clinical scale used to reliably measure a person’s level of consciousness after a brain injury.  The GCS assesses a person based on their ability to perform eye movements, speak, and move their body. 

These three behaviours make up the three elements of the scale: eye, verbal, and motor. A person’s GCS score can range from 3 (completely unresponsive) to 15 (responsive).

This score is used to guide immediate medical care after a brain injury (such as a car accident) and also to monitor hospitalized patients and track their level of consciousness.

Unlike pretty much every other score, the lower GCS scores means a higher risk of death. However, the GCS score alone should not be used on its own to predict the outcome for an individual person with brain injury.  It’s simply a guide, that’s pretty much all.

Concussion – types and what you should do

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONCUSSIONS

Concussions are graded as mild (grade 1), moderate (grade 2), or severe (grade 3), depending on such factors as loss of consciousness, amnesia, and loss of equilibrium.

In a grade 1 concussion, symptoms last for less than 15 minutes. There is no loss of consciousness.

With a grade 2 concussion, there is no loss of consciousness but symptoms last longer than 15 minutes.

In a grade 3 concussion, the person loses consciousness, sometimes just for a few seconds.

The seriousness of a concussion dictates what kind of treatment you should seek. Most people with concussions fully recover with appropriate treatment. But because a concussion can be serious, safeguarding yourself is important. Here are a few steps to take:

Seek medical attention. A health care professional can decide how serious the concussion is and whether you require treatment. If you have suffered a grade 1 or grade 2 concussion, wait until symptoms are gone before returning to normal activities. That could take several minutes, hours, days, or even a week.If you have suffered a grade 1 or grade 2 concussion, wait until symptoms are gone before returning to normal activities. That could take several minutes, hours, days, or even a week.

If you have sustained a grade 3 concussion, see a doctor immediately for observation and treatment. A doctor will ask how the head injury happened and discuss the symptoms. The doctor may also ask you simple questions such as “Where do you live?,” “What is your name?” or “Who is the president?” The doctor asks these questions to evaluate memory and concentration skills.

The doctor may test coordination and reflexes, which are both functions of the central nervous system.The doctor may also order a CT scan or an MRI to rule out bleeding or other serious brain injury.

If hospitalization is not required, the doctor will provide instructions for recovery. Aspirin-free medications may be prescribed and you will be advised to take it easy. Experts recommend follow-up medical attention within 24 to 72 hours if symptoms worsen.

  • Take a break. If your concussion was sustained during athletic activity, stop play and sit it out. Your brain needs time to properly heal, so rest is key. Definitely do not resume play the same day. Athletes and children should be closely monitored by coaches upon resuming play. If you resume play too soon, you risk a greater chance of having a second concussion, which can compound the damage. The American Academy of Neurology has issued guidelinesabout resuming activities after a concussion.
  • Guard against repeat concussions. Repeat concussions cause cumulative effects on the brain. Successive concussions can have devastating consequences, including brain swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disabilities, or even death. Don’t return to normal activities if you still have symptoms. Get a doctor’s clearance so you can return to work or play with confidence.

Concussion learning by experts

 

Amid growing evidence that repeated concussions and blows to the head can have long-term, possibly fatal outcomes, local concussion experts are working to better inform people about head injuries.

Specialists at Cape Regional Medical Center’s Concussion Center are gearing up for fall sports season injuries, typically to student athletes — although adults and seniors can have such injuries all year.

More awareness about head injuries is needed.

“There’s a misconception that concussions are strictly due to sports injuries, but we have a program and treatments that serve kids and adults who get concussions just as much from falls and car accidents, too,” said A.J. Weiss, concussion center rehabilitation and treatment manager.

Gov. Chris Christie earlier this year signed a law designating the third Thursday of September as Concussion Awareness Day in New Jersey. Legislators said they hoped awareness would lead to education about the serious consequences of concussions, treatment and resources.

Of the 2.8 million traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations in 2013, most were concussions, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and about 300,000 children who were treated in a single year for a concussion or brain injury got hurt while playing sports or in recreation.

Scientists have explored more about concussions in recent years, especially as high rates of head injuries are found in sports such as football. Researchers have looked into how repeated head injuries and concussions could lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease.

A report published in July in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Dr. Ann McKee, chief neurologist of VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the CTE Center at Boston University, said 110 of 111 brains of deceased National Football League players were found to have CTE.

“Part of what we do for education is informing people about second impact syndrome, which can be fatal,” Weiss said. “It happens when someone sustains a second concussion before the first one heals, and that could lead to weeks or months of therapy, permanent damage, or worst case, death.”

Concussion symptoms include dizziness, headache, vision trouble, sometimes brief unconsciousness, fatigue, poor balance, sensitivity to light, vomiting and disorientation, among others.

Cape Regional’s center, established in January 2016, encourages people to see a physician as soon as possible if they suspect a concussion. When a physician or other medical expert refers patients to the center, Weiss said, they will see that patient in less than 48 hours.

Some patients who come in with head injuries from sports, falls or car accidents come through the emergency department, he said, where they may be prescribed a CT scan, which can detect brain bleeds or skull fractures.

Though they are necessary in many cases, experts from the New Jersey Council of Children’s Hospitals and the New Jersey Hospital Association created the Safe CT Imaging Collaborate, which works to standardize protocols for head CT scans in children to decrease radiation exposure.

“Diagnostic radiation is very, very useful when used appropriately,” said Dr. Ernest Leva, associate professor and director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center’s Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. “But if it’s not used appropriately, it can be dangerous.”

Dori Davidson, 19, of Dennis Township, got a concussion not from sports, but from a slip and fall in August.

She visited a Cape Regional urgent care associated with the emergency department for a laceration on her head and was referred to the concussion center, where she got baseline testing, concussion care education and a treatment plan.

Davidson worked with experts in a combination of physical therapy and occupational therapy exercise Friday to strengthen her motor and cognitive capabilities. She worked with the Dynavision D2, a computerized board that tested her motor, physical and neurological skills.

The center, which has seven certified brain injury/concussion specialists trained in physical and occupational therapy, also works with a network of nearby pediatricians to reach children who may see their primary care doctors for head injuries.

Weiss said the center also works with neurologists who attend to patients with more complicated neurological issues stemming from a concussion.

No single test can diagnose someone with a concussion, but experts hope there will be one someday. In the meantime, they said, the best they can do is educate people on how serious concussion can be, the signs and symptoms and the available resources, such as Cape Regional’s specialized center.

“We emphasize everyone to get in early if they suspect a concussion injury,” Weiss said. “The last thing we want to see is people who don’t address their symptoms immediately, they get worse and we have a worse case on our hands.”

Can concussions be prevented?

  • Wear protective equipment. Participation in high-contact, high-risk sports such as football, hockey, boxing, and soccer can increase the likelihood of a concussion.
  • Skateboarding, snowboarding, horseback riding, and roller blading are also a threat to your brain’s health.
  • Wearing headgear, padding, and mouth and eye guards can help safeguard against traumatic head injuries. Wearing a bike helmet can lower the risk of traumatic head injury by 85%. Ensure that the equipment is properly fitted, well maintained, and worn consistently.
  • Drive and ride smart. Always wear a seatbelt, obey posted speed limits, and don’t use drugs or alcohol, because they can impair reaction time.
  • Don’t fight. Concussions are often sustained during an assault, and more males than females report traumatic head injuries.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN?

  • There many things that can be affected by a concussion.  The damage can affect Cognitive, Physical, Emotional, or Sleep elements.  Please see the diagram to the right for more, and click on it for more.
 
  • There’s an excellent book written about Concussions.  It focusses on the prevention, gives help to cope if you receive one, and “real stories” to help you understand that if you receive one, you’re not alone.