January is National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to bringing awareness to TBIs related to winter sports and how to prevent a TBI from occurring.
“A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an injury that affects how the brain works” (CDC). A TBI may be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or from a penetrating injury. There are three main types – Mild TBI or concussion, Moderate TBI, or Severe TBI.
Falls; Violence; Sports injuries; Vehicle-related collisions
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in mouth
- Inability to smell
- Sensitivity to light/sound
- Loss of consciousness
- Dazed or confused
- Issues with concentrating
- Mood changes
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping more than usual
Headache Nausea & Vomiting Fatigue Drowsiness
Issues with speech Dizziness or loss of balance
Seizures or convulsions Loss of coordination
Mild TBI or Concussion
- OTC pain relievers
- Monitored closely at home for any persistent, worsening, or new symptoms.
- Doctor will indicate when a return to work/school/sports in appropriate.
- Emergency care may be needed.
- Medications for anti-seizures, coma-inducing drugs, or diuretics may be given.
- Surgery may be performed to remove clotted blood, repair skull fractures, stop brain bleeds.
- Rehab may be required post TBI to help the individual return to their pre-TBI daily activities.
Prevention for Winter Sports TBI
- Always wear a properly fitted helmet and replace after a serious fall. A helmet will protect your head, just like a case protects your phone.
- Learn the fundamentals to the sports – take lessons and watch a pro.
- Be familiar with your surroundings and stay alert. Do not stray from the designated paths.
- Be aware of the warning signs for concussion (headache, weakness, numbness, decreased coordination, confusion, etc.).
By: Creason Walter