Learn About Concussion

What is the definition of Concussion?

A concussion may occur when the head hits an object, or a moving object strikes the head. A concussion is a less severe type of brain injury. It may also be called a traumatic brain injury.

A concussion can affect how the brain works. The amount of brain injury and how long it will last depends on how severe the concussion is. A concussion may lead to headaches, changes in alertness, loss of consciousness, memory loss, and changes in thinking.

Concussion
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What are the alternative names for Concussion?

Brain injury - concussion; Traumatic brain injury - concussion; Closed head injury - concussion

What are the causes of Concussion?

A concussion can result from a fall, sports activities, vehicular accidents, assault, or other direct injury to the skull. A big movement of the brain (called jarring) in any direction can cause a person to lose alertness (become unconscious). How long the person stays unconscious may be a sign of how bad the concussion is.

Concussions do not always lead to loss of consciousness. Most people never pass out. They may describe seeing all white, all black, or stars. A person can also have a concussion and not realize it.

What are the symptoms of Concussion?

Symptoms of a milder concussion can include:

  • Acting somewhat confused, feeling unable to concentrate, or not thinking clearly
  • Being drowsy, hard to wake up, or similar changes
  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness for a fairly short period of time
  • Memory loss (amnesia) of events before the injury or right after
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seeing flashing lights
  • Feeling like you have "lost time"
  • Sleep abnormalities

The following are emergency symptoms of a more severe head injury or concussion. Seek medical care right away if there are:

  • Changes in alertness and consciousness
  • Confusion that does not go away
  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness on one or both sides of the body
  • Pupils of the eyes that are not equal in size
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Walking or balance problems
  • Unconsciousness for a longer period of time or that continues (coma)

Head injuries that cause a concussion often occur with injury to the neck and spine. Take special care when moving people who have had a head injury.

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What are the current treatments for Concussion?

For a mild head injury, no treatment may be needed. But be aware that the symptoms of a head injury can show up later.

Your providers will explain what to expect, how to manage any headaches, how to treat your other symptoms, when to return to sports, school, work, and other activities, and signs or symptoms to worry about.

  • Children will need to be watched and make activity changes.
  • Adults also need close observation and activity changes.

Both adults and children must follow the provider's instructions about when it will be possible to return to sports.

You will likely need to stay in the hospital if:

  • Emergency or more severe symptoms of head injury are present
  • There is a skull fracture
  • There is any bleeding under your skull or in the brain
Who are the top Concussion Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
2
conditions
Sports Medicine
Pediatrics

Specialty Care & Surgery Center - King Of Prussia

550 S Goddard Blvd 
King Of Prussia, PA 19406

Christina Master is a Sports Medicine specialist and a Pediatrics doctor in King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Master has been practicing medicine for over 29 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Concussion. She is also highly rated in 2 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury. She is licensed to treat patients in Pennsylvania. Dr. Master is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
3
conditions

Norwegian University Of Science And Technology

Trondheim, NO 

Toril Skandsen is in Trondheim, Norway. Skandsen is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Concussion. They are also highly rated in 3 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Traumatic Brain Injury, Concussion, Memory Loss, and Syphilis.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
2
conditions
Physiatry
Emergency Medicine

University of Rochester Medical Center

4901 Lac De Ville Blvd 
Rochester, NY 14618

Jeffrey Bazarian is a Physiatrist and an Emergency Medicine doctor in Rochester, New York. Dr. Bazarian has been practicing medicine for over 35 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Concussion. He is also highly rated in 2 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Subdural Hematoma. He is licensed to treat patients in New York.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Concussion?

Healing or recovering from a concussion takes time. It may take days to weeks, or even months. During that time you may:

  • Be withdrawn, easily upset, or confused, or have other mood changes
  • Have a hard time with tasks that require memory or concentration
  • Have mild headaches
  • Be less tolerant of noise
  • Be very tired
  • Feel dizzy
  • Have blurry vision at times

These problems will probably recover slowly. You may want to get help from family or friends for making important decisions.

In a small number of people, symptoms of the concussion do not go away. The risk for these long-term changes in the brain is higher after more than one concussion.

Seizures may occur after more severe head injuries. You or your child may need to take anti-seizure medicines for a period of time.

More severe traumatic brain injuries may result in many brain and nervous system problems.

When should I contact a medical professional for Concussion?

Call the provider if:

  • A head injury causes changes in alertness.
  • A person has other worrisome symptoms.
  • Symptoms do not go away or are not improving after 2 or 3 weeks.

Call right away if the following symptoms occur:

  • Increased sleepiness or difficulty waking up
  • Stiff neck
  • Changes in behavior or unusual behavior
  • Changes in speech (slurred, difficult to understand, does not make sense)
  • Confusion or problems thinking straight
  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • Fever
  • Fluid or blood leaking from the nose or ears
  • Headache that is getting worse, lasts a long time, or does not get better with over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Problems walking or talking
  • Seizures (jerking of the arms or legs without control)
  • Vomiting more than 3 times

If symptoms do not go away or are not improving a lot after 2 or 3 weeks, talk to your provider.

How do I prevent Concussion?

Not all head injuries can be prevented. Increase safety for you and your child by following these steps:

  • Always use safety equipment during activities that could cause a head injury. These include seat belts, bicycle or motorcycle helmets, and hard hats.
  • Learn and follow bicycle safety recommendations.

Do not drink and drive. Do not allow yourself to be driven by someone who may have been drinking alcohol or is otherwise impaired.

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What are the latest Concussion Clinical Trials?
Spectacles Lens in Concussed Kids
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Get Going After concussIonN Lite (GAIN Lite): An Early Intervention to Reduce Impairing Post-concussional Moderate Symptoms in Adults
What are the Latest Advances for Concussion?
Feasibility and preliminary efficacy for morning bright light therapy to improve sleep and plasma biomarkers in US Veterans with TBI. A prospective, open-label, single-arm trial.
Cervicovestibular Rehabilitation in Adults with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
Tired of the same old research?
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Vestibular Rehabilitation Effectiveness for Adults With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion: A Mini-Systematic Review.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : November 13, 2021
Published By : Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Liebig CW, Congeni JA. Sports-related traumatic brain injury (concussion). In: Kliegman RM, St Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 708.

McClincy MP, Olgun ZD, Dede O. Orthopedics. In: Zitelli, BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, Garrison J, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 22.

Papa L, Goldberg SA. Head trauma. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 34.

Trofa DP, Caldwell J-M E, Li XJ. Concussion and brain injury. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee Drez & Miller's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 126.