Concussions: Crosby case helps sensitize the public, says Dr. Marie-Ève Bouchard

The fact that Sidney Crosby is discussing his concussion symptoms in interviews will help sensitize the public about an increasingly common sports injury, says Dr. Marie-Ève Bouchard, neuropsychologist at the MCH.
In her daily work at The Montreal Children’s Hospital, Dr. Bouchard notes that the number of concussions sustained during contact sports increases from year to year.
Athletes who return to sports before concussions symptoms have been resolved increase their likelihood of suffering a second concussion, says Dr. Bouchard.
“It’s like when we have a bruise. If we continue to put pressure on it, the bruise will become more severe. That’s when things can become very serious. Multiple concussions within a short period of time can eventually lead to chronic symptoms,” she says.
Crosby’s example
Young people often mirror the behavior of their role models. Sidney Crosby’s case therefore helps to change attitudes and perceptions about concussions. The NHL star has missed the last 4 consecutive games due to a mild concussion. He has given numerous interviews to explain how he has been feeling and why he made the decision to abstain from playing hockey until he has been completely symptom-free and has gradually returned to training.
Identifying the symptoms
Whenever a head trauma occurs, Dr. Bouchard recommends that athletic trainers and coaches assess whether the player is confused upon retuning to the bench, and suggests asking simple questions about the game to see if the athlete can answer easily. If the player displays any difficulty with either assessment, he or she should not be allowed to return to play and should be taken to hospital.
In the following 24 to 48 hours, the concussed player may experience a number of symptoms such as headaches, vomiting, hypersensitivity to light and sound, memory and attention problems, irritability and can also experience anxiety or depression.
For more information on concussions and how to treat and prevent them, click here to consult The Montreal Children’s Hospital’s Concussion Kit.