A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can
occur after severe impact to your head or after an injury that causes your head
and brain to shake quickly back and forth. Anyone can become injured due to a
concussion during a fall, car accident or daily activity. Your risk is
increased if you play a high-impact sport such as football, boxing, soccer or
wrestling. Concussions are not usually life-threatening, but they can cause
serious medical complications and should not be overlooked.
It’s important to understand the symptoms of a
concussion so that you’ll be able to identify when you or someone else is
Recognizing the signs and symptoms
of a concussion may include:
- Memory problems
- Double or blurred vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Problems walking
- Loss of coordination
symptoms look different in every situation. For some, symptoms may develop
immediately, while others may not begin to notice them for hours, days or even
weeks after an injury. In any case, if you or someone you know experiences any
of these symptoms after an injury to the head, it’s important to see a doctor.
If you have decided to see a
doctor, take a family member or friend along. It can be difficult to soak up
all the information provided to you during an appointment and having someone
with you ensures you will not miss or forget any specific instructions.
Have a friend or family member
write down some specific questions to ask your doctor.
- What kinds of tests are needed?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- How soon will symptoms begin to improve?
- What is the risk of future concussions?
- When will it be safe to return to competitive sports?
- When will it be safe to resume vigorous exercise?
- Is it safe to return to school or work?
- Is it safe to drive a car or operate power equipment?
- I have other medical problems. How can they be managed together?
from an injury
Your doctor will recommend that you physically and
mentally rest following a concussion, as this is the most appropriate way to
allow your brain to recover. This means avoiding activities that increase any
of your symptoms, such as general physical exertion, sports or any vigorous
movements, until these activities no longer provoke your symptoms. This rest
also includes limiting activities that require thinking and mental
concentration, such as playing video games, watching TV, schoolwork, reading,
texting or using a computer, if these activities trigger your symptoms or
worsen them. As your symptoms improve, you may gradually reintegrate activities
that involve thinking. It’s important that you also seek advice from your
doctor to determine when it’s safe for you to resume physical activity.
Once all signs and
symptoms of the concussion have resolved, you and your doctor can discuss the
steps you’ll need to take to safely play sports again. Resuming sports too soon
increases the risk of a second concussion and or even a fatal brain injury.