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Concussions: More Than “Getting Your Bell Rung”?

Most people know someone who has had a concussion or has even had one themselves. If you are an athlete in a high impact sport, odds are you’ve had a concussion of your own. Because concussions happen so frequently, there is a common misconception that they aren’t a big deal. You just, “got your bell rung.” No big deal… right?

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the brain is jostled inside the skull. This can happen because of a blow to the head, a fall, or a sudden stop in motion, such as in a car accident. The effects of a concussion can range from mild to severe, and can include symptoms such as headache, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. Typically, once you have had one, you are more likely to get another one.

Concussions are a common injury, particularly in sports such as football, soccer, and hockey. In fact, studies show there are as many as 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States each year. However, concussions can also occur in other ways, such as from a fall or a car accident.

It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect that you or someone you know has sustained a concussion. A doctor will be able to evaluate the individual and provide appropriate treatment.

How To Identify

Concussions can be difficult to identify, as the signs and symptoms can vary from person to person and may not always be immediately obvious. However, there are some common signs and symptoms of a concussion that can help to indicate that an injury has occurred.

  1. Physical Symptoms: These can include a headache, nausea, dizziness, balance problems, double or blurry vision, sensitivity to light or noise, and fatigue.
  2. Cognitive Symptoms: These can include confusion, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and feeling dazed or disoriented.
  3. Emotional Symptoms: These can include irritability, sadness, anxiety, and changes in mood or behavior.
  4. Loss of Consciousness: A loss of consciousness, even briefly, can be a sign of a concussion, but it is not always the case.

It’s important to note that some of these symptoms may not appear until days or even weeks after the injury. Also, if someone has a history of concussions, the symptoms may be more severe.

If Left Untreated

If a concussion is left untreated, it may lead to a number of serious complications. Some of the potential consequences of untreated concussions include:

  1. Second Impact Syndrome: This is a rare but potentially fatal condition that can occur when a person sustains a second concussion before the symptoms of the first one have fully resolved. The brain swells rapidly and can cause severe brain damage or death.
  2. Post-Concussion Syndrome: This is a group of symptoms that persist for weeks or months after the injury. These can include headaches, difficulty with memory and concentration, and changes in mood or behavior.
  3. Cognitive Impairments: Long-term cognitive impairments can occur if a concussion is left untreated such as difficulty with attention, memory, and concentration.
  4. Emotional Changes: People who have had a concussion may experience changes in mood or behavior, such as irritability, anxiety, or depression.
  5. Increased Risk of Further Injury: If a person returns to activities, such as sports, before fully recovering from a concussion, they are at risk of sustaining another concussion, which can have more severe consequences.
  6. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE): This is a progressive degenerative disease that can occur due to repetitive head injuries. Symptoms include cognitive and emotional difficulties, as well as Parkinsonian symptoms.

The standard approach to treating concussions is to watch and wait. The problem with this is that when it comes to concussions, the sooner the treatment, the quicker the healing. While concussion symptoms may improve through simply resting, they could also worsen. So why take the risk?

The Oxford Center’s Approach to Concussions

HBOT helps with concussions

The Oxford Center takes a proactive approach to treating concussions and TBI. We understand you do not want to take risks when it comes to your health, and we can help you avoid any long-term effects from concussions. That’s why we turn to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy decreases inflammation, oxygenates the entire body, stimulates the growth of new healthy blood vessels, and releases healthy cells, up to 800% more after twenty sessions. Research has shown that HBOT has a significant improvement in cognitive symptoms, improves brain perfusion (blood flow), reactivates neuronal activity in stunned areas of the brain, reduces brain edema and repairs tissue. 

No physical injury can heal without oxygen and the same applies for the brain. The improvement of symptoms is most ideal if a patient is treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy within 48 hours of the injury. However, dramatic improvement of symptoms is possible even years after the injury occurred.

In an HBOT chamber, the patient breathes 100% pure oxygen and air pressure is raised above normal atmospheric pressure. Normal air only has oxygen levels of 21% so the difference is dramatic. As patients breathe normally in the chamber, their lungs absorb increased amounts of oxygen and super-oxygenated blood carries throughout the body. This initiates and supports the body processes that help the brain recover and improve the symptoms of a concussion.

No matter how severe, The Oxford Center can help you on your way to recovery.

Vince’s Concussion Story

Vince, a 38-year-old dad from Northville, has faced the challenging consequences of two concussions. Both incidents significantly impacted his ability to carry out daily tasks. Vince’s journey to recovery began in May 2017, shortly after his first concussion, sustained during a hockey game. Just over a week after the injury, he realized the symptoms were too severe to ignore. Struggling with dizziness, fogginess, and slow thought processes, Vince recalled hearing about The Oxford Center’s hyperbaric oxygen therapy on the radio. Desperate for relief, he decided to give it a try, hoping it would help his brain heal.

His decision proved to be life-changing. The hyperbaric oxygen therapy facilitated his recovery, allowing him to resume his normal life. However, 14 months later, Vince experienced a second concussion while riding a jet ski. This time, the injury was more severe and required a greater number of hyperbaric oxygen treatments.

Reflecting on his second concussion, Vince says, “I wish I would have taken it more seriously the first time.” The symptoms, including difficulty speaking and processing thoughts, were debilitating. “I couldn’t talk very well. I couldn’t get a thought out. I would process things in my head, but then they wouldn’t reach my lips. I felt lazy and unable to function.”

After his first concussion, Vince initially went to the hospital but was sent home with a diagnosis of dehydration and no mention of a concussion. This experience deterred him from seeking hospital care after his second injury. Instead, he turned to The Oxford Center on his own initiative, understanding the critical need for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. “Most doctors don’t know about it or would use it for other injuries or illnesses, not concussions. The studies show it works wonderfully for head injuries, perhaps better than anything else. The brain needs oxygen,” Vince explains.

The second concussion, which occurred in July 2018, had a long-lasting impact. “I didn’t feel like myself until December 2018 or January 2019. It takes a long time to recover.”

Concussions are not just Vince’s story; they are a common concern. Vince recounts an incident involving his daughter, who was hit in the forehead with a baseball bat. Despite receiving staples and painkillers at the emergency room, the possibility of a concussion was downplayed. Recognizing the signs, Vince brought her to The Oxford Center the next morning. “She was knocked out, there was clearly something not right. It took about 20 treatments to get her healthy and back to normal.”

Vince continues to visit The Oxford Center for maintenance treatments to ensure his ongoing health. “The people are great. All the techs in the chamber room are wonderful, and everyone really is around here. It is a very calming environment, and when I go there, I love to just relax. It’s kinda like the relaxation time for the day.” Vince credits The Oxford Center with his complete healing. “Without it, I would just continue to struggle. It gives your body what it needs to completely heal itself.”

Today, Vince enjoys playing baseball with his son and chasing his daughter on her bike, treasuring those happy moments. His final advice is clear: “Take concussions very seriously. They are not something to joke around about. I mean, I can’t even watch college football in the fall anymore. Seeing these crushing blows and wondering, ‘Did that guy just get a concussion?’ They just keep going, week after week. You have to make sure that you get healed before you go back out there and do it again.”

Vince’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of proper concussion treatment and the life-changing benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy at The Oxford Center.