Trailside Medicine: Concussions
Photo by Bob Mielke
As a mountain biker, it’s good to have some knowledge about concussions. If someone crashes or falls off their bike, it is important to assess for a head injury. Did they get knocked out? Do they have a headache or dizziness or aren’t feeling right? Do they appear confused or dazed? Any of these suggests that they may have sustained a concussion. In this situation, the bike ride is over. It is important to avoid the possibility of injuring the brain any further. If there are any concerns or questions, please seek medical evaluation. Be aware that symptoms may be subtle, and sometimes don’t show up until later.
Concussions are serious injuries. Fortunately, most concussions heal within 1-2 weeks. During this time period, the brain is fragile and must be protected. Once feeling better, it is important to realize that the brain may not be fully healed. Some problems may still be lingering, such as impaired balance, which could make mountain biking dangerous. A health care professional can help you determine when it’s safe to start riding again.
To learn more, visit www.cdc.gov/headsup
Dr Jesse Coenen lives in Duluth to take advantage of the awesome natural areas and trail access. He practices family medicine and sports medicine.