A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions are referred to as a mild brain injury, because concussions are usually not life threatening. But concussions can be serious. Concussions may occur after a bump, jolt or blow to the head or after a fall or blow to the body. Symptoms of a concussion may affect thinking or remembering, emotions or moods, the ability to sleep or physical symptoms (such as a headache, blurry vision, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to noise or light, difficulties balancing and fatigue). Symptoms may begin right away or may take weeks or months to be noticed. Most people recover quickly. Sometimes it may take weeks or months to recover fully. Children, teens and older individuals may take longer to recover as well as individuals who have had a previous concussion.
Concussions occur when the brain is injured. A violent blow to the head can cause the brain to hit against the skull and get injured. Risk factors for concussions include participating in high-risk sports, being in a car or bicycle accident, fighting in combat, falling, and being a victim of physical abuse. A doctor may diagnose a concussion by a neurological examination, cognitive testing, or imaging tests. The most important treatment for a mild to moderate concussion is rest. This means that one must avoid physical and mental exertion until the symptoms get better. In rare cases, a dangerous blood clot may form on the brain in a person with a concussion and crowd the brain against the skull causing a medical emergency. It is important to see a doctor if you think you or your child may have a concussion – you do not have to lose consciousness to develop a concussion. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with a concussion, talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options as well as signs that you may need immediate medical attention.