Most Common Sports Head Injuries
Athletes can suffer from a variety of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and head trauma. A traumatic brain injury is a severe blow or jolt to a person’s head or body that disrupts the brain’s normal functioning. Traumatic brain injuries can also come from an object penetrating the brain’s tissue. TBI symptoms depend on the extent of damage to the brain and can be mild, moderate, or severe.
The most common traumatic brain injuries in sports are:
Concussions result from sudden movements that cause the brain and head to dramatically jerk back and forth. This can cause the brain to bounce around in the skull creating chemical changes and brain cell damage. A concussion is the most common traumatic brain injury in sports, and multiple concussions can have long-lasting, cumulative effects.
A contusion is a bruise on the brain resulting from an impact on the head. Brain contusions can occur directly at the point of impact, known as a coup contusion, or on the opposite side of impact, known as a contrecoup contusion.
A hematoma is a blood clot on the brain that forms as a result of ruptured brain blood vessels. Hematomas can affect the brain’s dura, dura lining, and the brain’s deep tissues. Hematoma clots can press against the brain leading to loss of consciousness, seizures, and confusion.
A skull fracture is a break in the bones surrounding the brain. The severity depends on the type and location of the fracture. If the skull bones break but remain in place, it is less likely that brain damage will occur. But in some instances, pieces of bone can cut into the brain and cause bleeding and severe brain damage.