SEP 12, 2017 3:31 PM PDT

Hard Knocks: How the Brain Responds to Trauma

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Helmets are the norm in contact sports like American football. But here's the thing, helmets can't stop the brain from "sloshing" inside the skull after a traumatic head injury. That "sloshing" motion is the brain being banged and bruised against the skull, which could lead to a concussion if the trauma force is great enough. It's estimated that high school football accounts for nearly half of all reported sports-related concussions.

When the brain is jostled hard enough against the skull, the fragile neurons stretch and tear. As the damaged neurons die, they also release signals which cause nearby neurons to also decay. These molecular events precipitate the most commonly reported symptoms of a concussion: dizziness, blurred vision, headache, and blackout.

Fortunately, the brain is resilient and can recover from mild concussions with plenty of rest. And unless there are other serious neuronal bleeds or complications, there's no evidence that going to sleep after a concussion will increase the chances of a subsequent coma. In fact, if a person receives a concussion and continues with strenuous activity, that person is more likely to develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS) - a condition whereby concussion symptoms last weeks and even months after the injury.

So, it's best to keep your brain protected at all times. But if you do happen to get a concussion, take it easy and give the brain time to heal.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
NOV 06, 2020
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
Located inside the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Z Pulsed Power Facility (or Z Machine) i ...
FEB 10, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Do Salt and Melting Ice Cause Landslides on Mars?
FEB 10, 2021
Do Salt and Melting Ice Cause Landslides on Mars?
Recurrent slope lineae (RSL) are dark flows that extend downhill on Mars to form sandy patterns on its surface. Research ...
MAY 01, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Small Galaxies Played Key Role in Evolution of the Universe
MAY 01, 2021
Small Galaxies Played Key Role in Evolution of the Universe
Astrophysicists from the University of Minnesota have found evidence for the theory that small galaxies emitting high-en ...
JUN 04, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
JUN 04, 2021
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in California have identified 90 drugs that could be repurposed for trea ...
JUL 13, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Artificial Lighting Disrupts Pollinating Insects' Vision
JUL 13, 2021
Artificial Lighting Disrupts Pollinating Insects' Vision
Artificial lighting can affect the eyesight of moths that rely on night-time vision, such as the elephant hawkmoth. The ...
JUL 23, 2021
Neuroscience
Does the Rise of Neurotech Spell the End of Humanity as We Know it?
JUL 23, 2021
Does the Rise of Neurotech Spell the End of Humanity as We Know it?
Researchers from Imperial College London have written an overview of currently available commercial brain-computer inter ...
Loading Comments...