A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. It usually is caused by a blow to the head. In many cases, there are no external signs of head trauma. Many people assume that concussions involve a loss of consciousness, but that is not true. In many cases, a person with a concussion never loses consciousness.
Even mild concussions should not be taken lightly. Neurosurgeons and other brain-injury experts emphasize that although some concussions are less serious than others, there is no such thing as a “minor concussion.” In most cases, a single concussion should not cause permanent damage. A second concussion soon after the first one, however, does not have to be very strong for its effects to be deadly or permanently disabling.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
A concussion may cause multiple symptoms. Many symptoms appear immediately after the injury, while others can develop over the following days or weeks. The symptoms may be subtle and are often difficult to fully recognize. It is not unusual for symptoms to worsen with physical activity. In many cases, even simple things, such as going to school or reading a book, may worsen symptoms.
Possible symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Easily confused
- Slowed thought processes
- Difficulty with memory
- Lack of energy, fatigue
- Dizziness, poor balance, lightheadedness
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Poor sleep
- Mood changes (irritable, anxious, or sad)
How long do the symptoms of a concussion usually last?
The symptoms of a concussion will usually go away within 5 to 7 days of the initial injury. However, in some cases, symptoms may last for several weeks or even months. Symptoms such as headaches, memory problems, poor concentration, and mood changes can interfere with school, work, and social interactions. The potential for such long-term symptoms indicates the need for careful management of all concussions.
What should be done when someone has suffered a concussion?
Anyone who has sustained a concussion needs a medical evaluation by a physician. If the concussed athlete is vomiting, suffering a severe headache, having difficulty staying awake or answering simple questions, he or she should be taken to a local emergency department.
Diagnostic testing, which includes CT and MRI, may be needed. While these are helpful in identifying life-threatening brain injuries, such as a skull fracture, hematoma, or a contusion, they are typically normal even when the person has sustained a severe concussion.
BIANC Resource Book & Regional Offices
The BIANC Resource Book is intended to be a guide for individuals with brain injury, family members of brain injury survivors, and professionals who serve them. It provides information and referrals for services related to brain injury.
Click here to see a listing of our regional offices. If you have questions or concerns, please get in touch with us through the office closest to you so that we can assist you.
A division of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that helps parents, coaches, and professionals recognize the signs of a concussion.
Brainline – Concussion
Additional information concerning mild TBI/concussion.
“A Parent’s Guide to Brain Injuries in Sports”
Articles and information for parents regarding concussions in youth sports.
Note: A big thanks to Amanda for sending us this link!