Five Little Monkeys, Four Probable Concussions
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head. Mommy called the doctor and the doctor said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
One would think that after the first little monkey fell and “bumped” his head the other monkeys would stop jumping on the bed. But the other four little monkeys love jumping on the bed, they don’t let something potentially dangerous stop them. So much so that after four monkeys have fallen and bumped their heads, the last monkey continues to jump on the bed.
It’s safe to say that these little monkeys potentially all got concussions from hitting their heads. This didn’t stop the other monkeys from jumping. Millions of people get concussions from sports, jobs, even everyday life, but this fact doesn’t keep us from playing sports or doing our jobs or living our everyday lives differently.
Let’s consider football. The players ram their head into other player and even the ground and sustain lots of concussions. Some players even lie when they have sustained a concussion to continue playing. This is a dangerous risk though. People understand that concussions are bad and you should sit out of play for a while until you’ve healed, but there are serious consequences that could result from not allowing enough healing time. Multiple things happen on the cellular level when you hit your head.
At first impact, the neurons become depolarized with ions making them over actively transmit a neurotransmitter called Glutamate which induces an excitatory signal. The hyper release of glutamate sort of sends the neurons on overdrive causing functions to spin out of control. Because of this, the axons are actually damaged. The axons are part of the white matter in your brain which supports the cells of the gray matter. Such injuries to the axons can actually lead to impaired cognition and slower reactions times.
The brain needs at least 10 days to heal properly from this damage and to readjust back to normal levels. If one does not allow for enough time and sustains a second injury, it is possible that person could actually die within minutes of the second hit. This is called Second Impact Syndrome. When the second injury occurs, the brain swells rapidly and often causes death. It’s scary to think that people lie or don’t know when they get a concussion and the result of another when the healing is incomplete could be death. If more people were aware about this, maybe more people would take concussions as seriously as they should be taken.
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head. Mommy called the doctor and the doctor said, “Your little monkey sustained a concussion and should refrain from jumping on the bed for at least 10 days until the injury is healed to prevent any further damage. I would advise your other monkeys to stop jumping on the bed as well.” – Now that is how the rhyme should go.