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Welcome to BIAC’s directory of Connecticut-based community resources, state and national organizations, and publications with important information related to brain injury education, prevention, and recovery. If you need further assistance, please give our helpline a call at 860-219-0291 to connect with a Brain Injury Specialist, or email general@biact.org.

Concussions

Brain Injury Basics

It is important to recognize that several definitions of brain injuries exist in current literature. The acquired brain injury definition is broader in scope and is often termed the “umbrella” definition as it includes traumatic brain injury.

Acquired brain injuries are typically brain injuries occurring after birth but not related to degenerative diseases, or congenital or hereditary factors. They may cause temporary or permanent impairment(s). Impairments can include physical functions, cognition, and psychosocial behaviors. Causes of acquired brain injury can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • strokes
  • traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • substance abuse
  • hypoxia (oxygen deprivation to the brain)
  • toxic exposures
  • infections
  • seizures
  • tumors

In basic terms, traumatic brain injuries are typically defined as blow or jolt to the head or body, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts brain function. It should be noted that not all blows and jolts to the head result in a TBI. It should also be noted that you don’t necessarily have to hit your head to sustain a brain injury. Impairments from this type of injury can be temporary or permanent.

The severity of a TBI may range from ‘mild’—a brief change of mental status or consciousness, to ‘severe’—an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after injury. Most TBI’s that occur each year are ‘mild’, commonly called concussions.

  • falls
  • motor vehicle crashes
  • struck by/against events
  • assaults
  • gunshot wounds
  • sports injuries
  • blasts
  • other injuries caused by trauma

TBI can cause a wide range of functional short- or long-term changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotions.

  • Thinking (i.e., memory and reasoning)
  • Sensation (i.e., touch, taste, and smell)
  • Language (i.e., communication, expression, and understanding); and
  • Emotion (i.e., depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness).

TBI can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders that become more prevalent with age.

About 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions.

Repeated concussions occurring over an extended period of time (i.e., months, years) can result in cumulative neurological and cognitive deficits. Repeated concussions occurring within a short period of time (i.e., hours, days, or weeks) can be catastrophic or fatal.

General Tips to Help Aid in Recovery:

  • Get lots of rest. Don’t rush back to daily activities such as work or school.
  • Avoid doing anything that could cause another blow or jolt to the head.
  • Ask your health care professional when it’s safe to drive a car, ride a bike, or use heavy equipment, because your ability to react may be slower after a brain injury.
  • Take only the drugs your health care professional has approved, and don’t drink alcohol until your health care professional says it’s OK.
  • Write things down if you have a hard time remembering.
  • You may need help to re-learn skills that were lost. Your health care professional can help arrange for these services.

If you or someone you know has a brain injury or needs helps navigating brain injury-related resources or information, BIAC can help. Visit Get Help Now for more information.

The above was adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For original source information, please visit cdc.gov.

Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)

Sometimes the symptoms of a concussion can linger beyond the initial 2–3-week recovery period. This may happen for a number of reasons, and it can have a significant impact on one’s daily life in all ways. It is important that people diagnosed with PCS (sometimes referred to as persistent post-concussive syndrome) are referred to specialists with training in concussions to help them recover. An interdisciplinary team approach is often recommended.

Concussion Laws and Student Athletes

All 50 states and Washington, D.C., have youth concussion laws focused on letting young athletes heal. The specific laws vary from state to state. BIAC was instrumental in drafting and supporting CT legislation. Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity. Parents, coaches, athletic trainers, school nurses, teachers, advisors, physicians, and athletes need to know the signs and symptoms of concussion and what to do if a concussion is suspected. BIAC has always recognized the importance of keeping your brain safe, and continuously strives to raise awareness about the prevention of brain injury, including concussions. BIAC was instrumental in drafting and supporting 2010 concussion legislation, An Act Concerning Student Athletes and Concussions, as well as 2014 legislation, An Act Concerning Youth Athletics and Concussions. It is important that parents and athletes understand the signs and symptoms of concussion and sign a concussion policy statement at the beginning of each sports season. BIAC offers concussion trainings aimed at raising awareness about concussion in youth sports. Help us raise awareness about concussion by sharing these publications with your parents, coaches, athletic trainers, teachers, advisors, physicians, and athletes that you know.

Concussion Publications

Recognizing a concussion is not just one person’s responsibility. Each sport is a team sport, and each player needs to look after each other. What a coach may miss a teacher may notice in the classroom or a parent may see at home. Teammates, coaches, trainers, parents, school nurses and teachers all need to be aware of the seriousness of a concussion and how to recognize when a child or young adult has sustained one.

The following materials were created by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and made available for organizations and teams to customize.

Questions Parents Should Ask

Summary of Questions Parents Should Ask of Youth Sports Organizations when considering having their Children Join, by Gerard Gioia.

Child SCAT5 for Children Ages 5 – 12

This was developed through the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport
Summary of the Return to Learn Chart following Concussion, by Gerard Gioia.

Sports Concussion Assessment Tool version 5 (SCAT5)

This was developed through the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport.

Concussion Recognition Tool version 5 (CRT5)

This was developed through the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport.

Concussion Education Plan & Guidelines for CT Schools

Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport – the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport Held in Berlin, October 2016.

Concussion: A Guide for Parents

This booklet, adapted with permission from the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey, was developed as a guide to help parents of children who are recovering from a concussion, to educate them about concussion, and to describe some of the complexities of concussion management.

Concussion: A Guide for Parents

Concussion: A Guide for Parents – This booklet, adapted with permission from the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey, was developed as a guide to help parents of children who are recovering from a concussion, to educate them about concussion, and to describe some of the complexities of concussion management.

Concussion

Basic Signs & Symptoms of Concussion

  • Headache or “pressure” in the head.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or balance issues
  • Double vision or other visual issues
  • Appearing dazed, confused
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion, concentration or memory problems
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”
  • Slurred speech
  • Ringing in the ears

Understand Concussion – What You Need to Know

  • A type of brain injury often referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)
  • Caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or to the body that causes the head and brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain
  • Concussions are usually not life-threatening but, they should be taken seriously
  • Most people DO NOT lose consciousness after a concussion (only 10% lose consciousness)
  • There may be no visible injury or there may be signs of injury to the head, such as bruising or cuts. The indicators can be very subtle
  • Symptoms may not appear until days or weeks following the injury or they can be missed altogether, as the individual may look fine
  • A concussion/mTBI is an injury to the brain, not just ‘seeing stars’
  • You can sustain a concussion in a number of ways, such as from a car crash, a fall, and from sporting activities
  • Most people will recover completely within 2-3 weeks if given the proper periods of rest and follow best practices and guidelines for a gradual return to activities (school, sport/play, work, & home activity)
  • Children may take a week or two longer to recover from a concussion
  • Repeated concussions occurring over an extended period can result in cumulative neurological and cognitive effects

Concussion A Guide for Parents

This booklet, adapted with permission from the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey, was developed as a guide to help parents of children who are recovering from a concussion, to educate them about concussion, and to describe some of the complexities of concussion management.

Concussion-Parents-Guide-CT_publications.pdf