Although there isn’t a set answer as to how many concussions is too many, there are different variables that determine when concussions could turn into permanent damage. As the number of concussions suffered increases, so does the risk for developing long-term damage. When trying to make the choice to return to normal activity, consider the history of the individual, the length of time given to heal, the time between concussions, the severity of the symptoms and most importantly, be proactive about preventing concussions in the future.
What causes concussions?
Concussions are caused by any incident that results in the brain violently shaking around in the skull. Injuries of this nature generally only affect the functioning of the brain for a short period of time. In some instances, concussion symptoms in a child can last for multiple weeks. Knowing how many concussions is too many can help you make the choice as to whether or not you can afford to risk obtaining another.
How many concussions is too many?
Here are some factors to consider when determining whether or not another concussion will result in long term damage:
What are the long term effects of a concussion?
In some cases, the response to the concussion is more dependent upon the individual than the impact or frequency of the trauma. For instance, if the individual has a previous learning disability, than there is a greater chance of them developing cognitive issues. In this case, it doesn’t matter how many concussions is too many. It is more about how the individual responds to the trauma.
In the same sense, if the person is prone towards anxious thoughts, then the concussion will most likely bring about mood disturbances and anxiety. What the person brings to the table prior to the incident is in most cases more important than how many concussions they have suffered from.
How long will it take to recover from a concussion?
The time in which the individual was given to fully recover between traumas does play a larger role in the risk for permanent damage than how many concussions the patient has had in the past. Generally, a single concussion can be healed in about two to four weeks. In that time, interventions such as nutrition, exertion of any kind, proper sleep, and stress management should be applied.
It’s important not to rush this process. As the number of concussions the patient suffers from increases, so does the time needed to recover.
What happens if you play sports with a concussion?
Specifically for athletes, making the decision to continue playing after suffering from a concussion can dramatically increase severity of their symptoms and impairment. They are also at a greater risk for what’s called “second impact syndrome” where a previously damaged brain responds to another hit by swelling profusely. This response can be deadly and is the reason it is so important to allow the brain to fully heal before putting oneself in risk of another concussion.
Symptoms may disappear before the brain is back to normal. So, the decision to return to the game is one that should be made by your doctor, and not one that is made based upon how you feel you are healing. When it comes down to how many concussions is too many, it is better to be safe than risk permanently affecting your brain.
Concussion mitigation plays an important part in the recovery from a concussion, no matter how many concussions you’ve dealt with. Neurofeedback is a great way to do this. It helps to establish what part(s) of the brain were affected by the concussion, identifies why you may be having specific symptoms and it helps determine a game plan for healing from it so that you can get back to living your life.