Georji jumped up during the soccer game to perform a header, and instead of hitting the ball, collided with the head of another player. The coach pulled Georji from the game and the physician said, "It's a mild concussion."
When a person has a concussion, medical personnel may refer to this as a TBI (traumatic brain injury). A TBI is an injury to the brain as a result of being hit by something or being violently shaken. Concussions are a form of TBI caused by a jolt or a blow to the head.
Concussions can occur from explosions, motor vehicle accidents, sports related injuries or when the body is hit hard enough to cause the brain to move quickly back and forth within the skull. There are degrees or levels medical professionals use to diagnose from mild to severe. Mild concussions, though not life threatening, can have effects just as serious and life-changing.
Due to the rapid, violent nature of the injury, TBI may cause damage to the auditory pathway. Damage can occur at any point from the outer ear to the brain. TBI can also present with a variety of symptoms.
The person with no difficulties becomes the individual who now struggles to focus. Georji, who was the A student, becomes the child who struggles to get Bs and Cs. Georji appears to not be able to concentrate, hear, understand or process information previously deemed "easy." Georji now has trouble providing basic information, or providing it in a timely manner. Difficulties locating the sounds or who is talking may be disruptive to family, in the classrooms, coaches or peers.
Georji now may require additional time and attention in order to maximize full benefit of the learning process. Others may need to provide Georji with repetition of tasks, repeating words or instructions and less pencil/paper tasks.
It is important to have medical attention to determine the level of concussion. The eardrum can break, the middle ear bones dislocate and inner ear can be damaged thus producing a hearing loss or ringing in the ears. Dizziness can occur in 40-60 percent of TBI patients. It is often associated with the inner ear difficulties but may also be associated with central or brain damage. Symptoms may include vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, chronic nausea and headaches.
Concussions can produce balance issues, coordination and walking concerns, speech changes, sensory loss, insomnia, fatigue, memory, learning and concentration delays, planning, organizing and decision making inabilities, language production and understanding impairments, swallowing disorders, impaired reading and writing, poor judgement and decreased safety awareness, personality and behavior changes and difficulties with hearing and comprehension of what others are saying or their intent.
Audiometric testing, speech therapy and physical therapy may help the healing process through rehabilitation.
Physician's whom are specialists of determining level of concussion may request students or patients to attend rehabilitative therapy prior to releasing Georji to play the sport again. After experiencing a mild concussion, Georji and everyone in Georji's life realized concussions are a big deal.
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Patricia Larson Shields, AuD FAAA MA CCC-SP/L is a doctor of audiology with her degree from The School of Audiology of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in February, 2003. She has been in business in Mitchell, SD since September, 1991.