"There isn't an exact answer as to why," said Lindsey Ream, Sports Medicine Athletic Trainer Supervisor for Children's. "Our brains are very complex and every brain is different."
Here are some factors to consider, according to Ream:
- Some symptoms are subtle, and some athletes don't realize that they are suffering symptoms of a concussion until days later when their symptoms get worse. They may also not recall getting hit in the head until days later.
- The patient may have been on medication, such as Ibuprofen, that may have downplayed their signs and symptoms.
- The patient may dismiss their symptoms as something else. For example, they may try to justify that they are just tired from school and practice or have a headache because they are dehydrated.
The CDC estimates that 5-10 percent of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport season.
Here are the most common signs of a concussion:
- Confusion or dizziness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to noise or light
"Headache and dizziness are the most common symptoms," Ream explained. "This is why it is important to have a medically trained person who specialized in concussions, such as an athletic trainer, present to help distinguish the difference between a concussion and something that displays similar symptoms."
Ream said some athletes will have only a couple symptoms that are subtle, while others may display a multitude of obvious signs.
"All of our athletic trainers make sure all suspected concussions follow up with a medical doctor as well as get released to return to play," Ream added. "Upon returning to school and practice, we also follow up with a return to play protocol to make sure their brains are ready for full practice and play."