• Post-Concussion Marathon: Is It Safe?

Concussions are one of the most common brain injuries in sports. It is more common in contact sports like football and martial arts, so it is not often associated with running marathons. However, runners can sustain concussions if they fall or hit a hard object during runs. 

Concussions are problematic for many athletes to accept since they can still function afterward as opposed to a broken limb or fractured ribs. Concussions are not visible, which makes it harder to evaluate other injuries. 

Is it safe to run a marathon after suffering a concussion? Let us find out. 

What To Do Immediately After A Concussion

If you get a concussion after falling during a run or hitting an object, it is difficult to know if you have suffered a concussion and what to do subsequently. 

The first step should be to evaluate your symptoms which means you will have to know how to test if you have a concussion. You should check grogginess, headaches, balance, energy levels, vision, and cognitive capacity. 

Your adrenaline might cover your concussion symptoms, so it is best to rest and be aware of your condition after impact. If anything seems off, you should not push through it no matter how much you want to. 

You should call a friend, relative or taxi to take you home. If you feel worse, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You will need a conclusive evaluation from a medical professional with experience in concussions. 

Tests will be done, such as the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT-5), to confirm a concussion. Even if you don’t feel any ill effects, it is always advisable to get a checkup if you think you have a concussion. 

Returning To Training After A Concussion

It is frustrating to be diagnosed with a concussion, especially if you are a runner preparing for a marathon. However, it is crucial that you take the time to recover, as returning to running too soon will make things worse. 

Moreover, you significantly increase your chances of getting another concussion if you do not address the first one adequately. 

After a concussion, you will encounter various effects such as less speed, reduced reaction time, and reduced motor function. 

Studies show that if you get a second concussion if you have not fully recovered from the first one, the symptoms are often worse and recovery is much more difficult. 

Therefore, you should take the time to fully heal based on the doctor’s recommendations even if you feel better. You should gradually return to activity with the assistance of a concussion-trained medical professional, giving your brain the best chance of recovery. 

Return To Activity

The first stage will involve total rest with no physical activity whatsoever. It typically lasts one or two days. 

After two days, you can resume light activities such as walking, jogging, or swimming. Do not lift weights and only do bodyweight exercises. 

You can then proceed to moderate-intensity activities for longer durations than light activity. However, it is advisable to take breaks. 

The next stage involves returning to intense training but without contact. You can also resume weighted resistance training. 

If you feel well, you can return to full training and start preparing for your next marathon. You can return to racing in a half marathon or other races afterward. 

Long Term Consequences of Concussion

Concussions can have long-term consequences though most symptoms and issues resolve themselves after seven to ten days. However, if you have multiple concussions, the long-term effects start to ramp up, and the risk is more severe. 

You may resume training and feel okay, but suddenly symptoms of concussions appear. If so, you should return to the hospital and get more information. 

Concussions are dangerous and need to be taken more seriously, especially in sports and athletic communities. Running a marathon post-concussion is possible, and it can be safe. However, you have to follow the doctor’s guidelines and watch for any long-term consequences.

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