Things Skaters Should Know About Head Injuries

Learn About Sports Concussions and Other Related Head Injuries

Use a Safety Helmet. Photo © iofoto,

A head injury is any trauma that leads to injury of the scalp, skull, or brain. These injuries can range from a minor bump on the skull to serious brain injury. According to the Brain Injury Resource Center, many popular sports expose their participants to activities with a risk for brain injury. And the risk for second impact syndrome is more likely in sports that may cause blows to the head, like boxing, football, soccer, baseball, basketball, skating (inline, ice or roller sports) and snow skiing.

Types of Head Injuries

Head injuries fall into two main classifications - closed or open. Closed head injuries are the result of a hard blow to the head that did not break the skull. Open or penetrating head injuries happen when an impact breaks the skull and enters the brain. These injuries usually happen at high speeds.

External head injuries are usually in the scalp. Many falls or other head impacts result in injury to the scalp only, and they are not very threatening - just frightening. That is because the scalp has many blood vessels, and even a minor cut could bleed freely. Lumps that swell up after a blow to the head blow come from blood from these vessels that builds up in and under the scalp. Lumps may take several days to clear.

Internal head injuries, which may involve the skull, the blood vessels within the skull, or the brain could be more serious and might even result in bleeding or bruising of the brain.

Concussions are the head injuries that are most often talked about and they can appear as an external or internal injury when the head or neck hits a hard surface after a skater collides with another person or trips over an object. Concussions are known to disrupt normal brain functions on a temporary or permanent basis. And, once a skater or other athlete has a concussion, they are as much as four times more likely to have another one. If an athlete has a series of brain injuries, they can be serious, may not respond to medical treatment or could even be fatal - the good news is that most of these injuries are preventable by using safety gear.

Understand Your Head Injury

Learn as much as you can about concussions and other head injuries:

  • You may have a sports concussion if a fall, a moving object or a sudden movement results is a mild or severe blow to the head while participating in any sport.
  • An epidural hematoma is bleeding between the skull and the brain and is more common in younger people.
  • Skull fractures may come from a severe impact to the head, but the only sign might be a small bump on the head.
  • It is very important that you learn the types and symptoms of sports concussions or other head injuries.
  • When you see or sustain a head trauma, know the warning signs or symptoms to look for as well as the correct head injury first aid treatment.
  • Learn more about the black eyes that develop after an impact to the face.

As you can see, there are a lot of head injuries and many treatment possibilities. Basic knowledge of the injury types and first aid is good, but every head injury is different and should get immediate attention from your qualified health-care provider. A better plan is to do everything possible to avoid all them, because any skating injury can be very expensive - for medical expenses incurred and in school or work time lost. So, be sure to get fitted with a good helmet, use all of the recommended protective gear including mouth guards and find safe locations for your inline skating activities.

Other Sports Injuries

Skating injuries are always lurking on the horizon. Some may be overuse injuries and others may be acute or traumatic. Learn about the things you can do to prevent, identify or get professional treatment for some common inline skating injuries:

This document was reviewed by our Medical Review Board in 2012 and is considered medically accurate.