Melissa Gilbert Suffers Brain Injury Concussion and Whiplash on Dancing With The Stars: Will this Help You Recognize the Dangers of Head Injuries?


Melissa Gilbert Suffers Brain Injury Concussion and Whiplash on Dancing With The Stars: Will this Help You Recognize the Dangers of Head Injuries?

Yesterday, while dancing live on television in this year’s “Dancing With the Stars” competition, former Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert suffered an injury and was taken to the hospital as the live show continued along, with news today being that she has suffered a concussion and whiplash. She remains in a Los Angeles hospital today.

Seems so minor, right?  Dancing on a shiny dance floor, and someone hurts their head and neck?  Is this just for the publicity?

Nope.

Hopefully, the injury to Melissa Gilbert on DWTS this year will help people across the country — particularly parents with kids in extracurricular activities — become more aware and alert not only of the possibility of head injury but the real dangers that can come from events that seem like minor events.

What is a concussion?

Concussions happen when there is a hard hit to the head.  That can be from something hitting the head, say a tackle during a football game, or it could be from falling during a dance move onto a hard floor. Fist fights in a bar, motorcycle accidents, falling from a swing — there are as many ways to get a concussion as there are ways for humans to hit their heads.  Here’s what happens.

Inside your head, there is spinal fluid that surrounds your brain and protects it from being jarred.  Your skull is the shell around that brain matter (soft material) and fluid that provides added protection.

In a head injury that causes a concussion, the hit to the head is so forceful that the spinal fluid isn’t enough to keep your brain from slamming against the skull, and that WHAM of brain against skull bone can injure the brain.

From the Center for Disease Control regarding concussions:

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.

Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.

Danger Signs in Adults

In rare cases, a dangerous blood clot may form on the brain in a person with a concussion and crowd the brain against the skull. Contact your health care professional or emergency department right away if you have any of the following danger signs after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body:

Headache that gets worse and does not go away.
Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination.
Repeated vomiting or nausea.
Slurred speech.

The people checking on you should take you to an emergency department right away if you:

Look very drowsy or cannot be awakened.
Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other.
Have convulsions or seizures.
Cannot recognize people or places.
Are getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated.
Have unusual behavior.
Lose consciousness (a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously and the person should be carefully monitored).

Danger Signs in Children

Take your child to the emergency department right away if they received a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, and:

Have any of the danger signs for adults listed above.
Will not stop crying and cannot be consoled.
Will not nurse or eat.

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