Fitbie MSN—April 8, 2013
By Danielle Kosecki
About five years ago during a rec-league soccer game, I jumped to head a lofted ball but missed. Instead, it awkwardly—but gently—bounced off the top of my head. I immediately felt dizzy, but laughed it off, and finished the rest of the game.
The problems started 10 days and a few more soccer games later. First it was unusual nausea during my commute. Then it was sensitivity to noise, migraines, repeated dizzy spells, stabbing pains in the back of my head, and the sensation that my brain was vibrating. Symptoms persisted for three months before I visited my primary care physician, who diagnosed me with sinus headaches and suggested that I get my eyes checked.
I knew in my gut that my symptoms signaled something worse than allergies. My own research revealed that my suffering may have been caused by a concussion—a traumatic brain injury that occurs when a trauma to the head or body causes the brain to bounce off of the inside of the skull, changing the way it normally works.
I made an appointment with a neurologist, who confirmed my suspicions. She diagnosed me with post-concussion syndrome, a disorder in which concussion symptoms last weeks or months after the initial injury. The doctor admitted that she wasn’t up to date on the latest concussion research, and told me I could continue playing soccer as long as I didn’t head any more balls.
Myth: Hitting your head is the only way to get a concussion.
Any blow to the body can result in a concussion. That’s because your brain actually floats in spinal fluid within your skull, which allows it to move around, says Teena Shetty, MD, neurologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. So if your teen is involved in a car accident and experiences whiplash, for instance, the force of her head shooting forward and backward may cause her brain to smack the inside of her skull, leading to concussion.
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