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Head Bangers

Contact sports put men at high risk of concussion.

Making the Grade

The first step is to determine the "grade" of the head injury. According to Rosenberg, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) defines three grades of concussions. A grade-one concussion, commonly referred to as "getting your bell rung," doesn't result in a loss of consciousness but does involve the haziness and disorientation normally associated with head injuries. A grade-two concussion has similar symptoms but lasts beyond 15 minutes. A grade-three concussion is determined by a loss of consciousness.

Rosenberg explains that an athlete can return to competition on the day of a grade-one concussion, while a grade-two concussion can keep a player out of play for up to two weeks. It usually takes about a month to fully recover from a grade-three concussion.

Injury prevention for athletes involves wearing a helmet, especially in fast-paced or contact sports like skiing, biking, or hockey. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute estimates that helmets can reduce the risk of serious injury by up to 85% in all age groups.

Finally, Dr. Rosenberg probably has the best recommendation for avoiding accidental head injuries: common sense.

"Maybe instead of climbing on a chair, he [Mr. Crasta] might consider using a broom the next time he wants to kill a spider," Rosenberg said.

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