Concussion in Circus Arts, Dance & Theatre

Concussion is more common in circus, acrobatics and dance than you might think and it is a serious injury that needs appropriate attention.

A concussion can occur when someone takes a blow to the head from a fall or an external force and can be immediately obvious with a loss of consciousness and/or confusion. But only 10% of concussions involve a loss of consciousness. Concussion can occur after a minor bump and it is these mild cases, without severe symptoms, that need to be identified immediately in order to limit ongoing issues.

a) Any of the following may be a sign or symptom of concussion straight after, or hours after a bump, blow or jolt to the head:

b) Headache, dizziness, nausea, feeling dazed, seeing stars/flashing lights, ringing in the ears, double vision, sleepiness or insomnia, feeling slow/fatigued, sensitivity to light and noise

c) Disoriented to person/place/time, confusion, loss of consciousness, anterograde or retrograde amnesia (poor recall of events before or after the injury)

d) Poor coordination, convulsions/seizures, unsteady walking/loss of balance, slow response to questions or directions, distractible, inappropriate emotions, vomiting, vacant stare, slurred speech, personality changes/changes of behaviour

If you or someone else suffers a blow to the head it is vital that you take heed of any concussion symptoms because continuing on as normal can perpetuate and worsen the initial minor signs and symptoms resulting in post-concussion syndrome that can last many months. Consult a health professional with experience in concussions to be tested and monitored before returning to any physical or mental activity. Even watching TV or a computer screen can worsen symptoms.

Any concussion should be assessed and managed with a Concussion Assessment Tool and return to sport/dance/circus protocol. It might only be 24 hours before full recovery, but it may also take 7-10 days of steadily progressing activity while monitoring signs and symptoms with questionnaires and tests to know recovery is complete and full activity is possible.

If you would like further information regarding a Concussion Assessment Tool please contact our the team at Performance Medicine on (03) 9686 2373