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Concussion Awareness

What might seem like just a bump to the head could be a brain injury. Concussions are sometimes referred to as a “mild brain injury” because they are usually not life-threatening. However, if not recognized or taken seriously, a concussion can have significant complications and cause permanent impairment.

What is a Concussion

A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury and is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or hit to the body that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth within the skull.  This quick, violent movement can cause damage to brain cells and alter brain function.
Know the Symptoms:
Signs and symptoms of a concussion generally show up soon after the injury. However, you may not know how serious the injury is at first and some symptoms may not show up for hours or days. 

  • Headache
  • Feeling of pressure in the head
  • Amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Dizziness or "seeing stars"
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Appearing dazed
  • Moving clumsily
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to light and noise

Know the Danger Symptoms:

A blow to the head can cause a dangerous collection of blood to develop known as a hematoma. Seek immediate medical attention if you note any of the following symptoms:

  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Drowsiness or inability to wake up
  • A headache that gets worse or does not go away
  • Slurred speech, weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting, prolonged nausea, convulsions, restlessness or agitation
  • Loss of consciousness, even if only briefly
  • If a child or infant will not stop crying, cannot be consoled or refuses food

How to Respond

  • Take symptoms seriously. Brain rest is crucial.
  • Monitor for symptoms for a few hours after and up to several days following the injury.
  • If injured while playing a sport, sit out. Don’t try to push through it, shake it off, or quickly jump back in the game.
  • You have a higher risk of additional injury following a concussive event. Research has shown multiple concussions carry a significant risk for permanent brain damage.
  • Return to normal activities slowly. Full recovery can take 2-3 weeks.
  • Get plenty of rest to help the brain heal.
  • Avoid high-risk physical activities, loud noises, and activities that involve prolonged concentration like studying, looking at a computer, playing video games or watching TV.
  • Check with your doctor on instructions for when it is safe to return to physical activities, driving or operating heavy equipment.

Additional Resources

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