A significant blow to the head can cause a break in the skull. Athletes are regularly prone to these strikes due to the high impact collisions or accidents typical to many sports. This injury may be simple to treat depending on its severity, but major skull fractures can also pose significant risk of brain injury.
Many factors can point to a skull fracture and all should be taken seriously. The injured party might suffer from a headache or other head-related problems such as confusion, lethargy, or altered vision. There may be visible swelling or an open wound where the injury was sustained, and nausea or vomiting can be present. The face can feel paralysed or fatigued, and bruising can occur by the nose or eyes. Loss of consciousness following a blow to the head or a fall is a major warning sign and you should seek medical attention immediately.
A fall or strike involving the head is the main cause, particularly if the head is unprotected, but it should be noted that headgear does not always shield the skull adequately and you should still check for the above symptoms.
Generally skull fractures do not lead to other issues but if you suspect a fracture it should be considered severe until confirmed otherwise. An 'open break' might damage soft tissue around the head. In cases where the injury affects the skin or an outer layer surrounding the brain, this can be indicative of brain trauma or another condition. Bone fragments are at risk of piercing the brain or a major blood vessel, which can result in bruising or bleeding in the skull.
See a doctor immediately to assess the intensity of the injury. This may entail hospital tests such as an x-ray or CAT scan. Treatment will vary depending on the injury. Minor fractures may be healed using medication, painkillers and rest, but surgery might be required for major injuries. If the fracture has provoked injury in the brain or nerves then this will be taken into consideration. After any surgery the doctor will guide you through the rehabilitation process.
Full recovery time also varies, but many injuries are resolved within two months with the correct diagnosis and treatment. Complications can arise as a result of treatment or the initial injury, so it is important to consult a medical professional immediately after the injury is sustained.
Always wear the appropriate protective headgear for sports or other activities, even if there is no strict rule about it. Be sensible with risk assessment, gauging when you might fall or get hit in the skull. Check any equipment for suitability, and if you exercise in public during the night be sure to maintain visibility. Due to the nature of major strikes to the head there is no certain method of prevention but you can shield yourself as far as possible.
- articular cartilage damage
- auricular haematoma
- dental damage
- lens dislocation
- mandibular injury
- maxillary injury
- neck pain
- perforated eardrum
- skull fracture
- temporomandibular injury
- vitreous haemorrhage