Off the Wall, March 9, 2017

Let’s get serious! What I’m about to state is of utmost importance and not to be taken lightly. This concerns you, your wife or husband, and your children as well. It has to do with your head and the ways you can keep your skull and brain from getting those hard knocks that come without warning, sometimes with dire consequences. We know them as concussions.

I’m a good one to talk because I’ve had 16, but I’m not here today to talk about myself. My whole presentation centers on you, your parents, children, neighbors and friends. It all comes down to education.

This comes down to the “if only somebody would have told me sooner” type statement. I am not going to give you just one, but many. In so doing I hope through what I have to inform you, you will not make the same mistakes I did and wise up utilizing the act of prevention whatever you do. I am definitely not planning on 17. On the other hand, I don’t want you to overlook the possibilities of having even one.

The facts divulged in this column come from the website

It starts out “Few people think about traumatic brain injury (TBI) unless they have one or know someone who has one.” How true that is.

Recently, a citizen of our community told me that an area student received a concussion by playing soccer. This individual lost all memory, and couldn’t even identify his parents. The prognosis of this teen was in question.

Walking down Ligonier Street on a sunny day, I was enjoying the sights of my favorite hometown. I got to the intersection of Walnut and Ligonier Streets when I had a grand mal seizure (I’ve had epilepsy since birth) and went headfirst onto the pavement. Needless to say, what resulted was a concussion.

The road under foot was great to walk on until my head went ‘conk’ against it, and then I didn’t think of it as such a wonderful thing.

So what is a TBI? “A TBI occurs when a sudden jolt – from something like a bicycle accident, a fender bender or a tackle in a friendly game of football – causes the brain to hit the skull. The result can be mild, moderate or severe brain injury,” it stated.

It went on to say that various reactions may occur such as feeling woozy or confused, see spots or lose consciousness.

By definition, “A concussion – a mild form of brain injury – is the most common form of TBI. Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of a concussion can be the hardest to recognize among the types of TBI.”
It goes on to point out, “Sustaining a concussion or any brain injury can lead to changes in cognitive abilities and control of emotions, mobility, speech and senses. Left undiagnosed and untreated, A TBI can have a huge impact on how a person thinks and acts, and on his or her mental health.”

So how do they come about? Many people get concussions through motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports, assaults, discharge of weapons, or impact with objects.

Rather than going into a lengthy description of recognizing the symptoms of a concussion, I’ll leave that up to the professionals. In other words, if one bumps his head whereby a lump is recognized or the person doesn’t feel well or has a tremendous headache, contact one’s doctor or go to the emergency room (ER) at a hospital.

If one goes to the ER and one is given a CT Scan and the doctor states nothing was seen, don’t rule out that one doesn’t have a concussion. All the doctor is saying is that no bleeding or swelling of the brain was detected. An ER technician told me that concussions couldn’t be detected through this type of testing.

Only after I had my grand mal seizure and went ‘conk’ into the street and was transported my ambulance to the hospital and given the tests and discharged did I learn thereafter from my doctor that I did sustain a concussion.

A bruise can fade eventually on one’s arm. A broken bone can heal over time. But a brain injury in any stage may lay the foundation for the rest of one’s life.

Everyone riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter or all terrain vehicle must wear a helmet. Always fasten one’s safety belt while driving, be cognizant of what’s around one and make living areas safe for children.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-1951.