According to the Brain Injury Association of America, every 13 seconds, someone in the US sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain.

The most common type of TBI is a concussion.

Concussions can happen to anyone, but children and athletes are at a particularly high risk.

“There are over 300,000 head injuries reported annually in high school athletics in the US, and over 90% are concussions,” says Dr Jennifer Roth Maynard.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. (Photo courtesy Fotolia/TNS)

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Photo: TNS

Dr Maynard is a primary care and sports medicine physician at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, and chair of the Northeast Florida Regional Sports Concussion Task Force.

Effects of concussion are usually temporary, but can include headaches, blurred vision, nausea and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination.

Anxiety and sleep issues can also occur.

Though some injuries can cause a loss of consciousness, most concussions do not.

Because of this, Dr Maynard says some people don’t even realise they have a concussion.

She adds, “Spreading awareness about concussion, knowing the signs and symptoms, and seeking prompt medical attention is essential to helping prevent long-term injuries, especially in young people.” – Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service