Our parents showed so much concern for our brains when we were kids. Too bad that concern was put in all the wrong places. From a young age we were told not to watch too much TV because it would rot our brains. Or not to play videogames as they would transform us into mindless zombies. Or not to read comics because they weren’t “real” books and that they would herald the slow but inevitable decline into cognitive deterioration. While these have all been proven to be beneficial (or at the very least not harmful) to our brains, the other more wholesome activities they may have suggested were fraught with danger. There’s far more danger of brain injury or head trauma on the football field or the baseball pitch or even in the park than in any comic or video game, however violent they may be.
Nonetheless, the simple truth is that a head trauma can result in a traumatic brain injury that has long lasting or even permanent effects. Your cognitive function could be impaired, you could lose your job or your career and even completely lose everything that makes you so special and unique and… you. But life’s for living and the risk of head trauma is by no means a good enough reason to shut yourself out from the world. When that occasional bump on the noggin does occur, however, knowing what to do can go a long way in mitigating its effects…
Get someone you trust on site
Brain injuries can be exacerbated when ignored or left unattended and there are are manifestations of brain injury that someone else may be aware of while you are not. Therefore it’s important to get someone you trust on site. If possible get them to take you home and spend some time with you while you convalesce. Don’t allow yourself to be left alone unless you are absolutely sure that you’re okay. Ideally, you should try and stay awake for as long as you can and avoid going to sleep alone if you can.
Look for signs of brain injury
There are certain signs that might indicate brain injury. If any of these manifest, you need to get to A and E straight away. These include:
- Loss of balance
- Weaving or wobbling when walking
- Hearing loss in one or both ears
- Bleeding from ears
- Clear liquid running from nose or ears
- Nausea and / or vomiting
Give it 48 hours
Ideally you should be under observation, either by a medical professional or someone else you trust for the next 48 hours. In that time you should stay out of work especially if you work in a hazardous environment. Avoid stress and physical exertion and certainly don’t even think about getting behind the wheel. If you experience headaches, take an anti inflammatory like Ibuprofen or paracetamol for pain. Do not take aspirin as this can thin the blood and exacerbate internal bleeding.
Very often a little caution and vigilance can mean the difference between a nasty bump on the head and a permanently debilitating injury.