What You Didn't Know About Concussions

What You Didn't Know About Concussions

Some surprising facts.
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Your helmet smacks the helmet of the player you’ve been talking smack to the whole game. Your body bounces off of his and falls to the ground. You black out temporarily and when you come to, the team doctor is standing over you. Your head is pounding and you’re extremely dizzy. You have a concussion, but what does that mean?

Concussions are something that, according to NPR, affects one in four Americans in their lifetime. That is not something that we can ignore. Through research, I have learned a lot about concussions. I am going to talk to you guys about what concussions are, what the recovery from a concussion looks like and how we can avoid them. "Concussion" is a word that a lot of us have heard thrown out in regard to football or maybe even car accidents, but how many of us actually know what it means?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination.” In English, it simply means that your brain has a bruise.

Your brain, to put it simply, is made of Jell-O and is floating in a liquid known as the Cerebral Fluid. When the head is shaken or suddenly hit, the brain moves in the cerebral fluid and will actually hit the inner walls of the skull. Because the amount of force that caused the brain to move in the first place can be varied, so can the severity of the concussion.

It is these injuries to the brain that cause the symptoms of the concussion and it is actually the symptoms that are called a “Concussion,” not the injury its self. A side effect of brain injuries is brain bleeding, so it is recommended that even if you don’t think your concussion is a serious one, you still see a healthcare professional.

Worst case scenario, they send you home, best case you just saved your life by seeking medical attention. To diagnose a concussion, doctors will look at a number of neurological functions including vision, reflexes, coordination, and balance. Other factors that could betray a concussion are increased irritability and confusion.

The typical concussion patient is typically recovering for as little as a week or it could take as long as a couple months. Because the injury varies so much from person to person, there is no set recovery guideline. Some people can do some things while for other people that may the main straining factor.

According to the same Mayo Clinic article from before, the first thing that the doctor is going to recommend is that the patient lay in a dark room with no light, no screens, and no books. Doing this gives the brain a break. Reading and looking at screens and other things cause strain on our brains which is something the patient would want to avoid when he or she has the diagnosis of a concussion. I

n some cases, doctors may even recommend that the patient take time off from work or school in order to shorten the amount of time that the brain is being used to think and minimize strain. Doctors may even recommend that patients discontinue any strenuous physical activity as not to cause undue strain on the brain. In extreme cases where the concussion is taking too long to heal, doctors may prescribe the patient medicine. Typically, they will prescribe medications to treat symptoms such as headaches, depression and memory loss.


Concussions are an injury that can be avoided in most cases if the right precautions are taken. The two main causes of concussions are car accidents and playing sports. In a car accident, concussions usually stem from another injury such as whiplash according to brainandspinalcord.org. One way to reduce the impact of an injury such as whiplash, and
therefore reduce the likelihood of concussion, is to make sure that your headrest is adjusted properly. Wearing a seat belt can also prevent concussions. When not wearing a seatbelt, the head usually hits the windshield which would surely cause a severe concussion.

Playing contact sports severely increases your risk for a concussion, but there are lots of preventative measures that can be taken to dramatically decrease that risk. To no one’s surprise wearing a helmet significantly lowers the chances of getting a concussion. Sports that require athletes to wear a helmet, such as football and lacrosse, increase the players' chances of avoiding concussions severely.

Surprisingly, wearing a mouth guard can also minimize the impact to the head. According to sciencedaily.com, mouth guards put the jaw in a position that distributes force and, if the mouth guard is the right thickness and fit for the wearer it can actually absorb some of the shockthat might come from a hit to the head.

Concussions are serious injuries and should be treated as such despite the fact that there may not be any outward signs. I told you what concussions were, how to recover from them and how to prevent them in the future. It is now one week after you got a concussion in the big game, but thankfully you knew to recognize the symptoms and get help so you will make a complete recovery from your concussion.

Cover Image Credit: Performance Health Academy

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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I've Recovered From An Eating Disorder and Exercise Addiction... Now What?

I am ready to be simultaneously healthy and fit, rather than hurting my body while trying to be fit.
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While recovering from an eating disorder and exercise addiction, I purposefully didn’t force myself to work out much or put a huge emphasis on working out.

As I continued to recover, I also did my best to not deprive myself or restrict any certain foods, which I have an extensive history of doing. Exercise and eating healthy are two of my biggest passions and two things I have been surrounded by my entire life. My parents are marathon runners and we were "that family" that wasn't allowed to eat candy or junk food.

However, recovery meant letting go of the suffocating hold that I had on these two passions.

My recovery has primarily been in the last 6 months, even though the issues I struggled with started in 9th grade. I turned my focus to body-acceptance, forgiveness, and healing — and away from negative self-talk and hatred for my struggles.

I hated what was happening, but didn't control being pulled back towards it.

For me personally, recovery has been a journey I've primarily taken on my own. It has taken A TON of hard work. It has required training, not unlike physical body training.

This kind of training has been mental and physical — training the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs in my mind and training my physical responses and actions. From harmful, life-consuming actions to beneficial, life-giving actions. Recovery is more than worth it.

It has been difficult, to say the least, but so necessary, eye-opening, and freeing, as anyone with these types of struggles knows.

You have to fill your mind with truth, find support (even if it's very small), re-train your mind, and be fully invested in your recovery — in order for it to happen.

For internal struggles like eating disorders and addictions, there is no perfect formula or set of steps to follow. There's no pill you can take or encouragement someone can give you. Everyone's story is different and recovery comes with a lot of ups and downs.

I've come to a point in recovery where my body and mind are ready and begging to dive back into better eating and consistent working out (with a better, healthy mindset of course.) I'm really curious as to if anyone else with similar struggles is at this point or has been here. I am excited about health and fitness, and excited to be able to enjoy these things that I love. But there's still a sense of fear in the back of my head.

It’s hard for me because uhhh... Where do I start!?

What do I do?! The last time I was fully invested in fitness was years ago.

I went from feeling like a fitness and PRO to feeling like a complete newbie.

I am ready to be simultaneously healthy and fit, rather than hurting my body while trying to be fit. One of my MAIN goals for this summer is to get back into a clean eating lifestyle (that allows me to feel my best!!) and to find a consistent fitness routine that I will be excited about and will stick to.

Crossfit workouts used to be my PRIDE and JOY, and I desire to find a place or activity that allows me to LOVE fitness again.

I've found confidence, peace, and joy without restriction, obsession, and deprivation... and I'm ecstatic to be able to incorporate balanced, safe health/fitness back into my life.

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap / Nirzar Pangarkar

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