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Sports Injury Concussions and Headaches

With the incredible number of high school and university or college athletes, seven million play school sports yearly, it is not a surprise that between fifty thousand and two hundred fifty thousand injuries occur yearly that have to do with concussions.  Researchers believe that one of the most telling symptoms of a concussion is the headache.  Symptoms of a concussion include losing consciousness, amnesia and headaches, especially the lingering ones. 

A recent study of high school and college football players showed that a mere nine percent lost consciousness, while only twenty eight percent had any form of amnesia. But a higher percentage suffered a port-traumatic headache. That meant they had a lingering headache after an athletic injury.  This was reported to be, depending on which study, between forty and eighty percent. 

One of the biggest concerns with these athletes is when should they be allowed back on the field. Many coaches are anxious to get them back playing quickly as so often the ones who get injured are their better players.  The students are also in a hurry to return to playing. They don’t want to be replaced by another player who might outshine them.  Some team doctors decide the return date by what symptoms persist and headache is the one most likely to remain. While other doctors will say that if headache is the only remaining symptom they can return to the game.  This controversy about headache and concussion among school athletes has been going on for a long time and despite studies and conferences there does not seem to be an agreed on conclusion coming soon.

Because of the ongoing concerns over athletes who still are still suffering from an injury related headache a week after their injuries studies on school athletes, headaches and concussion continue. A recent one was done with high school students, average age 15.8 of who 84.5% were male. They were mainly students who played football 63.6%, with the remaining student athletes partaking in basketball, soccer, hockey and five other sports with only minor representation. Fifty one percent of the students studied had had at least one concussion before this current injury while a third had suffered only the one.  Any student who had already had a CT scan or MRI was excluded from the study.

All the students had originally been examined where they were injured whether that was on the field, court or rink.  All of them were evaluated as to whether they had lost consciousness, had any mental impairment at the time of the injury like memory trouble, and were their any physical symptoms. These physical symptoms included dizziness, visual difficulties like blurring vision or headache.  A high percentage of these students reported headaches. It was found that students who had the most recovery difficulties, the worst neuropsychological performance after their injuries were the ones who still had headaches a week after their injuries.  For many this proved their earlier conclusions on headache and concussions and the concerns when these symptoms persist.

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