Hoping to play some touch football in the backyard this Thanksgiving after the big meal? Enjoy the camaraderie. But be careful not to collide with one another when running the field.

American football is widely associated with the highest incidence of concussions nationwide. In fact, athletes who play contact sports – yes, even modified versions like that Thanksgiving touch football game – are particularly at risk for concussions.

Athletes who have had one concussion are more likely to have a second – or a third. They are also advised never to return to the field the same day following a head injury.

Concussions are a kind of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that temporarily affects a person’s brain function. They are typically caused by any direct blow to the head or a bump, blow, or jolt to the body that jostles the head and the brain.

While considered to be a mild form of TBI, concussions can yield long-lasting effects. Signs of a concussion may occur immediately following an injury or might not show up for weeks (or at all). They do not appear on CAT scans or MRIs (though these tests may be ordered to rule out other injuries).

Everyone should be cognizant of the many warning signs of concussion, as quick treatment is critical to mitigating long-term effects.

Signs of a concussion can include:

  • Loss of consciousness (even briefly)
  • Dizziness or a headache for more than a few minutes
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Balance issues
  • Slurred speech
  • Nonsensical talk
  • Sleep issues
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings

It is possible for a person to have suffered a concussion and not be aware of it.

If you notice a friend or loved one is uncharacteristically irritable or suffering from coordination and balance issues – you may want to bring this to their attention, and the attention of a medical provider.

Other red flags include:

  • Fluid draining form the ears or nose
  • Abnormal pupil size
  • Erratic eye movement
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures

Quality First Urgent Care treats minor injuries at our Clarksville and Burtonsville clinics. If you believe you have noticed signs of a concussion in yourself or a friend or family member, contact our clinic today or set up a telehealth appointment online.