Many of you know that I am a mental health counselor, but you might not know that one of my specialities is traumatic brain injury. As off road riders, how many of you have a first aid kit that includes items helpful for concussion?
Disclaimer: While I help people adjust to life after concussion, I am not a medical professional. This article is purely for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice.
Definition of Concussion
Let’s start with the definition of a concussion. A concussion, or a mild TBI, is an injury to the brain that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. There may or may not be external signs of damage, which is why it is important to make sure you pay attention to how you are feeling after you fall. There are also some actions you can take shortly after that can enhance your chances of a full recovery.
Obviously, our first line of defense is our helmet. A full face helmet offers the most protection for any type of riding, and especially off road where falling is a common occurrence. Be sure to choose a helmet with a Snell, DOT, or ECE 20/25 safety rating. Helmet shells come in different shapes; be sure to find the right shape for your head, and always tighten your chin strap – the helmet can only help if it is on your head!
Seek Medical Attention
If you do have a fall where you impact your head, it is a good idea to seek medical attention. Even if you feel fairly well, there is a risk of developing a brain bleed that can cause symptoms or even be deadly later. Significant concerns at the time of the incident include loss of consciousness, headache, lightheadedness, dizziness, confusion, or disorientation, but even without these, it is a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional. In the US this often involves a trip to an emergency room or urgent care, however in Europe, they have developed a simple blood test that can check for Traumatic Brain Injury at the place of the incident. It’s important to know if there has been a head trauma, because sustaining a second head injury while the brain is healing creates even more challenges.
TBI First Aid Kit
In the book Concussion Rescue, Kabran Chapek, ND recommends carrying a TBI First Aid Kit for all physical activity that might end up with a bump on the head. This does not take the place of medical care, but allows preventative action for maximal brain healing. This TBI First Aid Kit includes NAC, curcumin, vitamin C, vitamin D, MCT oil powder or caps, and branched-chain amino acids powder. You can read specific dosages in his article here. In this book, he also discusses a diet that is high in vegetables, healthy oils, and superior proteins for a period of time following a concussion. It makes sense to feed your brain if there’s any chance it needs some extra healing nutrients.
I know after reading this book, I’m creating a small TBI First Aid Kit to take with me on my off road adventures. Even though I try to ride within my limits, I would much rather have this kit and not need it than need it and not have it!
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