A person rubs their temples during a headache.

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.

Source: https://rethinkconcussions.upmc.com/energy-crisis-during-concussion/

About Sports Medicine

An athletic lifestyle carries the potential for injury. Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, our multidisciplinary team of experts can help you get back into the game. If you are seeking to improve your athletic performance, we can work with you to meet your goals. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our goal is to help you keep doing what you love. Visit our website to find a specialist near you.