The last 10 years have seen a major explosion in awareness about the hazards of brain injuries. Most of what we know has come from significantly increased research into the kind of damage that can be done when athletes participate in contact sports like football.
What medical experts have concluded is that repeated tough raps to the head increase the risk of significant mental and physical health issues long term. But more than that, they've discovered that even a single hard hit can cause a concussion. And as one doctor's contribution to The Huffington Post notes, every concussion causes damage.
As a result, new laws and league protocols have been instituted in nearly every state creating a structure that is doing a better job of ensuring that young athletes who suffer those kinds of hits get proper care. Can the same be said for those instances in non-sport settings when someone suffers a knock to the head?
For example, a child at school is on the playground and takes a tumble while climbing on some apparatus. Perhaps the child trips and falls down some stairs inside. Then again, what about the person who suffers a head bump in a car accident?
Concern about concussion might be expected if the victim is knocked unconscious. But if that doesn't happen, the tendency might be to simply shake off the incident. Many doctors might not even be as up to date on these issues as they should be and if that leads to a failure to diagnose and deliver standard care, it could mean bigger problems for victims for a much longer time.
The physician author of the article says there are some post-concussive symptoms that can serve as red flags for parents and individuals to watch for. They include dizziness, lack of concentration and particular sensitivity to light or noise. In young children, unusual mood or behavior changes might be a sign.
The point to take away is that concussion risk is not limited to athletic activities.