In this blog I will be talking about the cost of a concussion. Not the physical or mental cost but the economic cost it has on the medical industry, and the general public. I will also talk about the research being done on concussion and how that will affect the general public with the advancement of concussion research. But firstly, how much does a concussion cost?
The New Zealand Government paid more than AUD$15.3 million in compensation claims over a 10 year period, for sport-related concussions with rugby league recording the highest average cost per claim.
With this being the New Zealand government it shows that concussion isn’t just a problem for Australian governments, governments all around the world are having to place significant amounts of money into concussion for research, compensation claims, and treatment.
But this isn’t a problem just for governments either with the public having to pay over $15, 000 for treatment of a concussion in America.
The reason the cost is so high is because a neurological exam is needed to test for concussion, this entails a test for memory, and any questions being asked like; how did you get the injury? Did you lose consciousness? If the concussion is severe a CT or MRI scan may be needed.
In Australia we are lucky to have such a good health system, with a CT scan being $300 and an MRI to be $500. Some countries are not so lucky with MRI’s costing thousands of dollars.
But why a CT scan or MRI? A CT scan is the test of choice to evaluate for the major symptoms of concussion, being able to testing for bleeding in the brain, swelling of the brain during the first 24 to 48 hours after injury, or to detect a skull fracture.
Whereas an MRI may be more appropriate if imaging is needed 48 hours or longer after an injury to evaluate persistent or worsening symptoms or where there is a concern for underlying pre-existing conditions e.g. headache or seizure disorder.
With concussion being one of the most dangerous injuries to occur, many industries have put a lot of effort into researching concussion and having new treatments and preventions. Such as advancements in medication, diagnosis and sporting equipment for prevention.
Advancements in research have resulted in better-equipped helmets with foam lining throughout the helmet. These advancements in helmet construction and function are designed to diminish risks for concussion injuries.
Diagnosis is key to preventing a concussion from becoming worse so advancements in this area is key. And with it now mandatory for sporting players to be assessed immediately after the concussion has taken place, by taking extensive tests to see how bad the concussion is and if it’s safe to continue playing.
As concussion is an injury not a disease, medication isn’t given to recover from a concussion. On doctors advice it is best to have no sport or physical activity and best to rest and let your brain recover from the injury.
Concussion has a serious cost to the people and to governments all around the world, sometimes spending thousands of dollars on concussion. Advancements in all areas have increased prevention and treatment, with the safety of the patient paramount.
As you can see concussion is a very serious injury and has to be taken seriously by everyone involved. In my next blog I will speak about how concussion has affected the science community in the past and some of the history of concussion.