Long Term Concussion Effects

Written by Shirley Parker
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With concussions being dismissed as "minor" for so many decades, little if any thought was ever given to long-term effects of concussion. Yet all one has to do is consider the physical and mental condition of many retired boxers. Even without the onset of other diseases such as Parkinson's, many of the ex-pros are lethargic in movement and speech. What is a knockout other than a concussion? And most of them suffered repeated trauma to the head during their careers.

The medical field is now realizing that it's the amnesia from a concussion that better indicates long-term prognosis. That's more important than whether or not the victim lost consciousness. Regardless, it's extremely important for a coach to recognize when a player has suffered a concussion, so the details can be recorded. Cheerleaders, too, can fall and suffer a concussion. Recording injuries should include any concussions that may have occurred away from the sport.

Long-term concussion effects include a lot of emotional distress. Depression is very common, increasing the possibility of suicide attempts. If the patient is simply not used to being sick or incapacitated, he may have poor coping skills to begin with, unlike those people who've endured chronic illness for years.

Taking Care of Yourself

Besides being in pain all the time, concussion victims may suffer ongoing vision and other physical problems. Additional common difficulties include: fear of future harm, feeling helpless to protect self and family, frustration, overarching anxiety, guilt, and feeling easily overwhelmed. All these symptoms get better with time, with professional counseling where needed, and with determination to take care of yourself. Don't take on extra responsibilities until you are completely well. That includes refusing volunteer assignments that someone else may have signed you up for "for your own good."

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