After a traumatic blow to the head, it is common to experience difficulty focusing, disorientation, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and often loss of consciousness. These symptoms often persist for several weeks following the concussion before diminishing completely. Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) refers to the persistence of concussion symptoms beyond the normal two-week window. For some, symptoms can continue for several months to several years, even further manifesting into depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in time. Though the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has continued to grow with each new version, PCS has not been included in its most recent iteration. An acquired brain injury rehabilitation specialist can be recommended for TBI, and a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist can be recommended for Acute Stress Disorder. The authors commend this reclassification because it recognizes that brain injuries are to be studied by neurologists and other medical specialists while transformations to one’s existence are to be studied by psychologists. Nevertheless, while the present analysis aims at PCS in the latter (psychological) sense, it is worth mentioning that acquired brain injury (ABI) specialists have found it appropriate and even necessary to adopt an existential-phenomenological perspectives to more fully conceptualize this phenomenon. This study utilized the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and arranged case studies with three athletes who had been forced to retire from sport due to major TBI’s and prolonged PCS. Authors identified common themes across each interview and used free imaginative variation to describe the dimensions of the PCS experience. Specifically, the way participants were able to cope with the loss of identity and meaning after sport, as well as their perceived level of social support in the aftermath of TBI and PCS, played major roles in ameliorating and/or exacerbating both somatic and psychological difficulties associated with TBI and PCS.
Part of the book: Frontiers in Clinical Neurosurgery