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Before returning to play, injured individuals should be examined and tested for deficits in attention, concentration, and short-term memory. Attempts to increase intracranial pressure under controlled conditions by having the injured player perform sit-ups and push-ups help assess symptoms of headache, nausea, and dizziness. If any sign or symptom is observed, then the player should not be allowed to return to play
Remember that when moderate or more severe injuries do occur, not only should the cervical spine be stabilized but airway, breathing, and circulation should be addressed.
By recognizing the severe risk that head injuries pose to individuals--especially to young people--health care professionals can offer information that may help reduce the number of injuries in our communities. When injuries do occur, prompt treatment is the single most important factor in promoting positive outcomes.
INFORMATION ON BRAIN INJURIES
Head injury is not a single disease but encompasses a large variety of diseases. A person may have a head injury as a result of being struck on the head, which causes confusion, nausea, vomiting, or a brief or much longer loss of consciousness. Another person with a brain injury may have a bleed in the brain, around the brain, or outside of the brain that could progress to a loss of brain function or even loss of life. Both of these diseases--and many others--go by the name head injury. In the United States, approximately two million people each year seek medical attention for head injury. Of those, about 350,000 are hospitalized.
Severe head trauma is a serious head injury disease that we immediately try to stabilize by whatever medical means are available. If the patient is not normal after the initial stabilization, then we try to prevent secondary injury--further injury that is responsible for 50% of the permanent brain damage that occurs as a result of severe head trauma.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE BRAIN
The brain is a very complex organ. It is responsible not only for all of our activities but also for our thought process, mood, behavior, judgment, and even our abilities to form sentences, know colors, and make music. The brain is made up of billions and billions of connections that work in a very precise manner, feeding information from one part of the brain to another and ultimately to the rest of the body by electrical and chemical impulses.
The brain is located inside of bone known as the skull (or cranium). The skull does not have the ability to expand or contract and, therefore, can't accommodate any expanded or additional substance inside it. Normally the only things inside of the skull are the brain, the blood vessels carrying blood, and a type of watery fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (also known as CSF).
There are different types of blood vessels in the brain. The blood vessels having a large amount of blood flowing through them very quickly under high
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