How to Prevent Concussions

February 10, 2021

For many of us, winter brings images of playing in the snow with family. Of course, it can also mean a greater risk of concussion, whether it’s from falling off a ladder while decorating or slipping while walking on ice. And, the more we learn about concussions, the more imperative it becomes to protect your brain and be proactive to prevent head injuries.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that happens when the head and brain move rapidly back and forth. This can happen either by direct impact to the head or through a hit to the body that causes sudden movement of the head and brain. When the brain bounces around or twists in the skull, it can create chemical changes in the brain, and may even stretch or damage brain cells.

What Makes Concussions So Dangerous?

While a concussion is considered a “mild” brain injury—because more often than not, concussions themselves are not life-threatening—the effects are serious, and can last for days, weeks, or even longer.

A concussion can temporarily cause a loss of normal brain function, a result of the chemical changes that take place when the brain’s nerves and blood vessels are stretched and bruised. While a single concussion usually won’t cause permanent brain damage, multiple concussions over a lifetime can result in structural changes in your brain.

How Can Concussions Be Avoided?

Most of the current conversation around concussions, particularly in media reports, concerns contact sports like football and ice hockey. Certainly, athletes participating in such sports should always wear well-fitting helmets and protective equipment that’s in good condition, and avoid head contact where at all possible. Helmets should also be worn when bicycling, skating, or horseback riding.

At home, bathrooms should have grab bars, and nonslip mats should be used in the tub and on floors. In general, improving lighting and getting rid of trip hazards are excellent ways to prevent concussion-causing falls. If you have young children, you may want to consider safety gates on staircases and guards on windows as well.

Concerned about a concussion or any other sports-related injury? Orlin & Cohen offices across Long Island are open for immediate, personalized care. Immediate in-person, as well as telehealth, appointments are available seven days a week: Request an appointment now.