Since it’s Brain Injury Awareness Month, now is a good time to increase your awareness about concussions, and the important role your vision plays in all this. To maximize your odds of avoiding a concussion, you need to know what it is, what it can do to you, and how to prevent it.

Brain Injury Awareness Month What causes a concussion and why does it matter?

They can be the result of a hard hit to the body that causes the head to move violently, a hard blow to the skull, or a sudden change in speed of the head (eg. being shaken too hard).

When this kind of thing happens, the brain bounces or even twists inside the skull, getting damaged in the process.

Who is at risk?

Many types of athletes are at risk of getting a concussion, including those who play football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, wrestling, and basketball. Other sports associated with concussions include boxing, lacrosse, and softball. Obviously this isn’t a full list, and there are many other activities that can cause this kind of injury – take some time to consider your exposure to risk and what you can do to minimize that.

If you think you may be experiencing a concussion, it’s extremely important that you avoid a second impact during the healing time of the first injury – rarely, second impacts occurring before the first has fully healed have led to fatal brain swelling.

Brain Injury Awareness Month means knowing the symptoms

Concussions can lead to dizziness, headache, academic problems, and difficulties with processing information. In more severe cases, it can lead to permanent impairments that prevent sufferers from functioning normally. The more concussions you have, the higher your risk for serious, lasting, negative effects.

How to prevent concussions

When participating in sporting activities, wear appropriate safety gear. For example, baseball players at bat, ice hockey players, cyclists, and skateboarders should all wear properly fitted helmets.

Enforce rules surrounding safe play. Athletes should avoid using their heads or helmets to shove or hit another player. Collisions with unprotected players must be avoided. Head strikes should be frowned upon and discouraged.

The important role of sports vision training in prevention

Sports vision training is the key to training your eyes to better recognize incoming impacts, your brain to trust that information, and your body to quickly react with impact avoidance strategies. If you do all this, you can dramatically reduce your odds of experiencing a concussion.

The University of Cincinnati implemented this kind of strategy with great success. Sports vision training was used to improve their peripheral vision and improve their reaction time to what they saw. By doing this, their team was able to reduce their incidence of concussion by 80%. That’s pretty impressive!

Make a concussion avoidance plan during Brain Injury Awareness Month

Concussions don’t have to be an inevitable part of playing certain sports. Assess your risk, take steps to protect yourself, and safely enjoy the sporting activities you love.