For the herd — concussion protocol

What to know about concussions as sidewalks turn to ice

While concussions may seem like a a predominantly sports-related problem, they are just as rampant in ordinary student life. With the snow firmly on the ground and slippery walkways to class, the risk of hitting your head in a fall is a reality in a Manitoba winter.

A concussion is a brain injury that will not only affect physical well-being but increase emotional and behavioural health issues as well. This is why concussion prevention is key.

Investing in a proper pair of winter footwear is your best bet to prevent falls. If winter boots break the tight student budget bank, crampons are a fabulous option and can easily be purchased on a retail website. Crampons are metal spikes that fit over your shoe and supply extra grip on icy surfaces.

If a student unfortunately falls and hits their head or even suffers whiplash while saving their noggin from the pavement, look for common symptoms of a concussion like headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound — including screentime — difficulty concentrating or even feeling overly emotional.

Seek medical attention if you actually hit your head. A brain bleed is a very serious medical emergency and can be caught with a CT scan. It is always a good idea to contact a doctor if one does not immediately recover from a winter fall, just to make sure no sprains or breaks have occurred on top of a potential concussion.

Remember, a person does not need to have lost consciousness after hitting their head to have suffered a concussion.

If a student does suffer a concussion, instructors and professors should treat their malady as a proper injury. While this may involve getting a medical note, it is a priority that healing takes place first instead of classroom assignments and paper deadlines.

Recovery from a concussion will often involve helpful steps provided by a doctor, or even a concussion specialist. Mild physical activity such as exercise aids in concussion recovery, and eating protein — meaning not skipping that breakfast — will also help the brain begin to heal.

Mental health is also an important factor in recovery and counselling services are recommended, as even a mild concussion can cause mental health distress or disorders.

Remember, while school is important, your physical and mental health are of the utmost importance. So, wear those winter boots, strap on those crampons and make sure to take care of yourselves, Bisons.