The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1.7 million people in the United States experience traumatic brain injuries, which affect the brain’s normal functioning. One type of traumatic brain injury is a concussion, in which either the patient’s head is hit by a moving object or the head collides with other object. This impact causes the brain to move (]]>MedlinePlus has a video that illustrates how different impacts to the head can cause the brain to jar]]>).
Concussions can cause several different symptoms. Patients may experience emotional changes, such as feeling irritable, nervous or sad. Physical symptoms may occur, such as sensitivity to light or noise, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, lack of energy, headache and vision changes. Some people may see flashing lights. A concussion may also cause some cognitive problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that these issues — problems concentrating, thinking clearly and remembering new information — may occur right away or some time after the injury. A possible complication of a concussion is damage to the brain that results in changes to intellectual functioning, added MedlinePlus.
One group that is at risk for problems due to concussions is athletes, and research suggests that college-age athletes that have had a concussion have issues with a specific type of memory. The study, which was presented the 58th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, looked at 100 male and female athletes — soccer and football players — and tested their cognition. The press release from the American College of Sports Medicine stated that the participants were given Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Testing; they also received an auditory oddball task and the Eriksen Flanker Task while an EEG was done. The researchers found that the participants who had sustained a concussion had worse verbal memory — the ability to remember auditory information — compared to participants who had not.