Dangers of concussions can't be ignored in youth and college spo - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Dangers of concussions can't be ignored in youth and college sports

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Before you know it, it will be here. A time of year that could also mean more patients for Dr. Matthew Pollack at USC Sports Medicine.

"Essentially, a concussion is any type of trauma to the brain," Pollack said. "Probably the easiest way to describe it is that it's almost like a bruise to the brain. It's a little different than an actual bruise. It's really more at a microscopic level."

Concussions in sports has become a hot topic across the country.

And Pollack said doctors still don't know everything about them.

"A lot of people end up having scans done for various injuries: X-rays, M.R.I.'s, and CT scans," Pollack said. "We use those with head injuries, but unfortunately, concussions are something we really can't see on the scan."

Pollack said concussions occur in athletes young and old but symptoms often last longer in younger people. And he said they can occur in a number of ways.

"Everybody gets excited about people getting head-to-head injuries, but even quick start and stops, the brain is almost kind of sitting in a fish bowl surrounded by water, so even just start and stops can cause the brain to slosh around and bang up against the skull," Pollack said.

Symptoms of a concussion include headaches, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.

But there are more subtle symptoms like changes in vision, changes in personality, nausea, confusion, and slurred speech.

Pollack said despite stricter guidelines and rules, concussions will happen.

He said the important thing is quickly recognizing concussions and quickly treating them.

"It really boils down to the kids being honest about how they're feeling," Pollack said. "So, concussions are certainly a serious thing. It's something that when we can identify them early, we can get better outcomes."

USC Sports Medicine said the best treatment to a concussion is physical and mental rest.

Of course, there's growing concern about the long-term effects of repeated concussions.

Pollack said doctors believe they might lead to dementia, ongoing headaches, and depression down the road.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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