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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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

This one's for you.
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You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that. I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions. After everything life has put you through you have still remained soft. This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did. You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself. You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away. Remember that it is OK to say no. You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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An Inside Look At Alzheimer's

This is just a little introduction to the journey my family and I have been on with my grandma while she struggled with Alzheimer's.

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My grandmother, my mom's mom, was the most beautiful soul in this world, even throughout her battle with Alzheimer's. My grandma's name is Joan Kohanski (but us grandkids called her Baba) and she was born on February 22, 1938. She was diagnosed with polio in her legs at the young age of 14. She has walked with canes ever since then but lived such an adventurous life. She married my papa (Ron) on August 8, 1959. The first daughter of theirs' was my Aunt Karen on May 25, 1961. My mom (Gail) came along on February 10, 1964. Finally, my Aunt Julie (we call her T.T.) was born on June 13, 1966.

They took many family vacations, many boat rides on my papa's boat on Lake Erie, and even a cross-country road trip in their R.V. Our family is so much fun when we get together for events and holidays, but we all agree that Baba would make everything feel whole again. Baba, as told by my mom, loved her family. It made her entire world go 'round. She would have sacrificed anything for her family and she did in many cases. One time, my Baba, Papa, and all the girls went to Cedar Point for the day. Baba didn't ride any rides that day, so she selflessly walked around all day on her canes and had blisters when the day was over just for her family. She loved her grandkids, all nine of them (me included). She was also very funny and had a great sense of humor, and I see her live through my mom every day.

I'm not sure if anyone has ever heard of this before, but supposedly, cardinals are your loved ones making themselves known that they are still there with you.

The amount of times that I have seen cardinals since her passing is uncanny and nobody can tell me that it's just a coincidence. The funniest part about it is that she lived on Cardinal Drive when my mom was growing up, and that's still where my papa lives today. Another really special thing to me is that I am part of the sorority that she was in, Delta Gamma. It makes me feel as if I have my own special connection with her that no one can take away, since all of my cousins and siblings that are older than me remember her before she was diagnosed, and I have a vague memory of it.

Baba was diagnosed with Alzheimer's around 2006 and lived with it until May 12, 2016. Her struggle with this horrible disease was not easy, certainly on her, but any of us, especially Papa. Papa took care of her at home until he was unable to anymore, which then he made the decision to put her in a care facility. She started out in a typical room by herself. As her condition got worse, she moved into the Alzheimer's unit with other people who had the same illness. If anyone has never had the first-hand experience with a loved one suffering from this disease, it is truly the most heartbreaking thing in the world. I would never wish that on my worst enemy. You start to see the person you love and look up to the most slowly become less and less of themselves, and it's not their fault. You learn to forgive them for the times that they forget your name and who you are. You know that it's really not them and they can't help it.

The whole journey of her suffering has been such a hardship to everyone in my family. It's probably the worst thing that any of us will ever go through. I am so happy with where she is right now because I know that she is in a better place, and rid of any and all illness. It's hard to come to terms that she isn't here with us any longer, and it's almost selfish of me to question "Why us?". I would do anything to have her back today but I know that there is always a reason why and I have to trust it. If you or someone you know has a family member or loved one that has Alzheimer's, just know that you are certainly not alone and other people totally understand.

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