A head injury can be life-changing. The main organ inside your head is your brain and it is the center of your body. Through a complicated system of nerves and electrical pathways, the brain knows what is happening in your body at any given time. It’s your brain that tells you about the issue and helps you decide how to deal with it.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve cut yourself shaving or run over your foot, the electrical impulses tell your brain what has happened and allow it to react.
However, despite being so important the brain is vulnerable. It’s protected by your hard skull, preventing outside elements from getting to your brain. It is also surrounded by a jelly-like liquid that absorbs shocks and prevents the brain from hitting the inside of your skull. Unfortunately, when your head suffers significant trauma the force can still cause your brain to hit your skull, potentially damaging it
If you even think you have suffered a brain injury you should be chatting to a qualified neurosurgeon. They can undertake the necessary tests, isolate the issue, and discuss your treatment/recovery options. Brain injuries can be life-changing, the sooner you get professional help the better.
You should also adopt the following preventative strategies to minimize head injuries in sports.
Almost every sport has a level of protection that can be worn, including knee pads, elbow protectors, and helmets. These won’t eliminate all risk of injury but they do help. If you’re playing a contact sport or one that risks you hitting your head hard, then wear a helmet. That’s particularly relevant if you’re a cyclist, boxer, or even a Moto GP rider.
The helmet absorbs some of the shocks and helps to protect the brain. It can’t absorb all the shock and there is still a potential for brain injury. But, it should protect against skull fractures and limit contact between your brain and the inside of your skull.
Don’t forget, once you have suffered a trauma to your head you’ll need to be monitored and your headgear will need to be replaced before you can play again.
Avoid The Head In Practice
Most athletes and sportspeople will spend longer practicing than competing. It’s important to protect your head while doing this. If possible, avoid the head during practices, this is the safest way of preventing head injuries as your head can’t be hurt if it’s not being targeted.
As well as avoiding heads in practice, it is also important to avoid contact when not essential to the training. Contact between players is when injuries are most likely to occur. Minimizing this when not necessary is a big step toward preventing head injuries.
Undertake Pre & Post port Assessments
If you’re engaged in sport then it’s a good idea to do pre and post-sport assessments. These are simple tests that are designed to check your physical capabilities and your mental abilities, including memory and recognition.
The tests are repeated after the sport and the results can be compared. If there are significant differences follow-up can be performed to ensure you haven’t suffered a head or other injury.
Know The Rules
It is the responsibility of every coach and every player to know the rules of their chosen sport and adhere to them. The rules are developed over time to ensure the game is played fairly and to minimize the risk of injuries, particularly head injuries.
While it is impossible to prevent all injuries, following the rules will minimize the risk and can prevent many undesirable outcomes.
Competitive and even highly dedicated amateur athletes should regularly visit their doctor for a health check-up. This will allow the doctor to identify any potential issues early and take the appropriate action. It’s better than waiting and finding out you have a problem but it’s too late to do anything about it.
Observe Rest Periods
If you have suffered head trauma, even if there are no signs of injury, you should take a rest period. Your doctor or coach can advise regarding the amount of time you should take. It doesn’t mean you can stop exercising, just don’t do anything that could agitate your head and brain. You may not have signs of an injury but your brain will still have suffered a shock and needs time to heal properly before your head gets hit again
Be Aware Of Others
As a sports person, you’ll most likely be aware of how other people behave and their average performance abilities. If you notice anything different about anyone you are competing against or exercising with, make sure they get checked out.
Brain injuries are not always obvious, encouraging someone to get checked can save their life.