What are some common sports injuries athletes suffer?

Full contact athletic events like football, boxing, or rugby can result in a number of accidents.  While most of these are relatively minor, like muscle pulls, sprained ankles and groin pulls, an athlete will occasionally suffer a major accident.  When a serious accident occurs, like broken bones, dislocated joints and lacerations, they require immediate medical attention.

Concussions are another regular occurrence when the competition gets fierce, but in recent years, training staffs have started taking them much more seriously. Concussions can do more than just derail an athlete’s career.  They can increase the risk for significant cognitive disorders in the future.

What is a concussion and how serious is it?

Like other traumatic brain injuries, a concussion is caused when the brain is subjected to sudden mechanical forces.  There is a small cushion of cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and can absorb some minor trauma, but this is often not enough when hurt during athletic competition.  A concussion is caused when sudden physical impact forces the brain to jostle inside the skull.  This usually happens when an athlete is struck in the head, but can also be seen in car accidents when there has been sudden acceleration or deceleration.

Concussions can cause a range of physical and cognitive effects, including headache, memory loss, loss of balance, emotional disruption, anxiety or depression, sleep disruption, difficulty focusing, numbness or fatigue.

There are many ways to grade a concussion, though there is no one grading system that all medical professionals use.  In general, if a person loses consciousness or suffers from extended amnesia (longer than 24 hours) then the concussion is considered to be severe.

How are sports injuries, like concussions, evaluated by training staff?

It’s impossible to tell if an athlete has suffered from a concussion just by watching them. Many training staffs use neuropsychological testing to determine whether or not an athlete has lost mental function.  However, an athlete that has suffered a minor concussion may not show obvious signs, so medical staff must be extremely attentive if a player is hit in the head.

Once an athlete suffers a concussion, they must be regularly tested and cleared before they can compete again
.  Neuropsychological testing is often used, but the best way to diagnose an athlete is with neurological scanning, like PET or SPECT imaging.  Even this, though, may not show any significant damage.  As a result, medical professionals often struggle with diagnosing and treating a concussion.

If sports injuries are not properly monitored, what can happen?

If an athlete is forced to compete again before they have healed, the condition may worsen greatly if they are hurt again.  People who experience multiple concussions are at a greater risk of developing permanent complications, like memory loss, psychiatric disorders or dementia.  Preventing additional concussions should, therefore, be a top priority for medical staff when an athlete is affected by a concussion.

Any athlete that has suffered from a concussion that could have been prevented should consider speaking to a lawyer for help regarding compensation.  An attorney can help a harmed athlete file a lawsuit and pursue compensation for medical costs and other expenses.