The NFL saw plenty more injuries in week 5 of football season, but none were as noteworthy as Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s injury.  While Rudolph was attempting to pass, a Ravens defender dove in for the tackle and the top of his helmet landed on the bottom of Rudolph’s face mask. The hit was a similar blow that a boxer might experience taking a hook to the jaw!  The result was a concussion and Rudolph immediately went limp with his head hitting the ground with full impact. The medical staff rushed out to attend to Rudolph and he was taken to the hospital. The word out of Pittsburgh is that he has returned home from the hospital, which is good news, but the effects of a concussion can still last a while. Let’s look into more detail what happens with a concussion.

Concussions have gained a lot of attention over the years as we are learning more about the long term effects. The injury, which was once not considered as serious, is now considered a mild traumatic brain injury. The brain is made of soft material which is protected by fluid within the skull, so as you move throughout the day no damage occurs. If there is a strong enough force to the skull or body however, the brain can hit the inside of the skull causing bruising or damage to the brain tissues or blood vessels, resulting in a concussion. There are many symptoms that can accompany a concussion. The following is a list of symptoms developed by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons1.

  • Prolonged headache
  • Vision disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Impaired balance
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Ringing ears
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of smell or taste

People may experience different symptoms with a concussion, but the good news is that the symptoms can be treated. Following an initial period of rest, there are several exercises to focus on to assist with recovery.  At 3DPT, many of our therapists are specially trained to help with the management of concussions and can determine which techniques are best.

The NFL has its own protocol each player has to go through in order to return to sports activity. While each player progresses through the stages at a different speed depending on recovery, it is important to fully recover prior to returning to the field as a second concussion soon after the first one can have serious, even fatal effects. For the most part, players fully recover with proper treatment but it is always important to try to decrease your risk of future injury.

There is a test that has been developed to assist with identifying concussions, called ImPACT tests, that are becoming more popular, especially in youth sports to help with concussion testing and management. The test is completed before the season starts to get a baseline measurement, and is designed to be taken following a concussion to assess impact. We do ImPACT testing here at 3DPT.  Contact us with any questions or to set up an appointment, click here: