Every year millions of students get concussions, instead of resting and following precautions to stay home, these students go back to school in as little as a few days, in part due to not wanting to get behind on school assignments, and having other stresses in life that can affect these students concussions can occur due to almost anything, walking outside and tripping on the sidewalk, playing sports and falling off a bike. These are all unpreventable and can happen at any given time. When a person experiences a concussion, it triggers responses throughout the body, the ions rush and release a chemical known as glutamate, due to this certain ions like potassium leave the cell while sodium and calcium enter the cell; this messes up the balance, this imbalance triggers more reactions in the body and specific ion channels start to open, all of this leads to disturbances in the brain and this is why people experience symptoms after a concussion. When a person gets a concussion or gets injured, the body tries to fix things by using up all the energy to restore the balance of the ions and cell function. However, this can lead to a shortage of resources and an increase in certain substances such as ADP. Sometimes the brain needs more energy than the blood flow provides this creates a mismatch and disrupts calcium levels inside the cells. The injury also changes how cells handle oxidation, creating harmful molecules and altering metabolic pathways, which can lead to longer-term issues and make the brain more susceptible to further damage, after this rush of energy the brain’s ability to use glucose is messed up for about a week, this causes learning and behavior problems, especially amongst adults. Concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury. Axons are long extensions of nerve cells and are very sensitive to being stretched when a brain injury occurs the outer layer of axons becomes open and is then vulnerable to damage, this causes a disturbance in the axons causing problems with their functions and leading them to break apart. Research on animals shows that their cells can still survive after the axonal breakage but most likely cannot function normally. Other research has suggested that some dietary supplements can help reduce this damage and/or change how quickly it happens. Inflammation in traumatic brain injuries is a topic that is not highly talked about, for many reasons, in severe cases of TBI inflammation is marked by the activation of microglia, it was also found that mild TBI can trigger inflammatory responses.2 In the past, people believed brain inflammation couldn’t happen because of the blood-brain barrier. But now we know it can occur with conditions like concussions. It involves immune cells being drawn in and brain cells like microglia and astrocytes getting activated. High levels of GFAP indicate astrocyte activation in people with brain injuries. Understanding how inflammation works in concussions is tricky. It can help healing, but too much can be bad. Figuring out how to manage inflammation in concussions is still being studied.1

Rehabilitation – The Concussion Blog


1Giza, Christopher  C, and David A Hovda. “The New Neurometabolic Cascade of Concussion | Request PDF.” The New Neurometabolic Cascade of Concussion, Fundamental Principles, 1 July 2014,

2Patterson, Z. R., & Holahan, M. R. (2012). Understanding the neuroinflammatory response following concussion to develop treatment strategies. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 6, 58.

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