Concussion occurs when a blow to the head or a hit to the body causes the brain to rattle, bounce, or twist in the skull, temporarily interrupting normal brain function. This dysfunction is caused by brain cells experiencing an energy crisis.
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What Happens in the Brain During a Concussion?
During a concussive injury, potassium ions (K+) within the brain cells exit the neurons, while calcium ions (Ca) rush into the cells. When calcium enters, the blood vessels constrict, resulting in a decreased blood supply to the brain. This diminished cerebral blood flow increases the demand for energy, causing an energy crisis.
The nerve cell is extremely vulnerable in this condition. Further injury or stress may cause cell death or serious cell damage. Cell death or damage can lead to cognitive impairment. That’s why it is important to take all concussions seriously and seek proper medical attention right away.
To find out more about the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program or to make an appointment with one of our experts, visit our website or call 412-432-3681.
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About Sports Medicine
Sports bring with them a potential for injury. And if you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. We serve athletes from a wide variety of sports across every demographic: young or old, male or female, pro or amateur. We partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and over 60 high school, college, and regional teams and events. We’re working to build better athletes. We use cutting-edge rehabilitation techniques to help you recover and provide education on how to prevent injuries.