Being a ringside physician has opened my eyes to the importance of having a medical professional present during all sporting events. Our goals as ringside physicians are to serve, protect, and educate all those involved in combat sports. There are between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions every year, with nearly 500,000 of these sustained during high school, when the student’s brain is still developing. Athletes have a 20 percent risk of sustaining a concussion every season.
A concussion is classified as a head injury due to severe contact caused by accelerating or decelerating forces. These forces cause the brain to move around within the skull, leading to brain dysfunction. Concussions can have long-term effects on our health. Life-threatening complications that can occur after sustaining a concussion are classified as second impact syndrome. This occurs when a patient sustains a second concussion before the first concussion’s symptoms have been fully resolved. This can lead to rapid cerebral edema and potentially death. Post-concussion syndrome is another complication of a concussion. This can lead to concussion symptoms lasting longer than 30 days. Some of the symptoms even become chronic and lifelong.
Treatment options for every patient suffering from a concussion vary on a case by case basis, with factors such as the severity of the concussion, the patient’s health and age all as contributing factors. It’s essential that regardless of any contributing factors, the patient is evaluated by a physician on the day of the injury.
Recognizing when a concussion occurs is an area the health field has great opportunity to improve on. Life threating complications can arise when concussions are not identified and athletes are allowed to play during a high risk period. I enjoy being a part of the action and having a sharp focus on the injuries athletes sustain while playing their sport. I truly believe we need to have a physician at every sporting event with the sole purpose of ensuring the health and safety of our athletes.
How can I tell if my child has sustained a concussion during a game?
- Some or all of the following symptoms will be present in a patient with a concussion -
- Child has amnesia of the event
- Loss of consciousness
- Vacant stare at time of injury
- Mood changes
- Sleep disturbances
- Balance problems
- Slurred speech
- Memory deficits
Junaid Munshi, MD, is a member of BJC Medical Group. He practices at BJC Medical Group Family Medicine, which is located at 3844 S. Lindbergh Boulevard, Suite 235, Sunset Hills, MO and can be reached at 314-525-0560 for appointments.