SI Vault
 
Anatomy of a Concussion
Michael Farber
December 19, 1994
A blow to the head, such as a quarterback might receive from a defender's helmet, causes the brain not only to move forward and/or back in the skull but also to rotate, which distorts the axons that connect the brain cells, or neurons.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
December 19, 1994

Anatomy Of A Concussion

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

A blow to the head, such as a quarterback might receive from a defender's helmet, causes the brain not only to move forward and/or back in the skull but also to rotate, which distorts the axons that connect the brain cells, or neurons.

1. In a normal neuron, the axon, which is protected by a myelin sheath, is not broken or otherwise distorted.

2. After a concussive blow, an axon might twist or bend, interrupting communication between neurons.

3. If a concussion is severe enough, the axon swells and disintegrates. Less severely damaged axons return to normal.

1