Concussion

(Closed Head Injury; Head Trauma; Mild Traumatic Brain Injury)

Definition

A concussion is an injury to your brain. The brain does not work right for a while after a concussion. You may have problems with things like memory, balance, concentration, judgement, and coordination.Your brain will need time to heal after a concussion. Most will have a full recovery with the proper rest and monitoring.

Causes

A concussion is caused by a sudden, violent jolt to the brain. It may be caused by:
  • A blow to the head
  • Severe jarring or shaking—like a bad fall
  • Abruptly coming to a stop—most common in car accidents
How a Concussion Occurs
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Concussions most often occur with events that involve:
  • Motor vehicles
  • Bicycles
  • Skates, skateboards, and scooters
  • Sports and recreation
  • Falling down
  • Firearms
  • Physical violence such as
    • Assault and battery
    • Domestic violence
    • Child abuse

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of a concussion include:
  • A previous concussion or head injury
  • Participation in contact sports like football or boxing, especially during competition
  • Work that involves farming, logging, or construction where the potential for a head injury is high
  • Being in a car accident
  • Increased susceptibility to concussion
  • Alcohol intoxication

Symptoms

A concussion can cause symptoms that may last for days, weeks, or even longer.Symptoms may include:
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness or memory about the accident
  • Low-grade headache or neck pain
  • Nausea
  • Trouble:
    • Remembering things
    • Paying attention or concentrating
    • Organizing daily tasks
    • Making decisions and solving problems
  • Slowness in thinking, acting, speaking, or reading
  • Feeling fatigued or tired
  • Change in sleeping pattern:
    • Sleeping much longer than usual
    • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of balance
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Increased sensitivity to:
    • Sounds
    • Lights
    • Distractions
  • Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Ringing in the ears or trouble hearing
  • Mood changes:
    • Feeling sad, anxious, or listless
    • Becoming easily irritated or angry for little or no reason
    • Lacking motivation
  • Seizures
Symptoms that may appear in a child with a concussion include:
  • Listlessness or tiring easily
  • Irritability or crankiness
  • Changes in:
    • Eating or sleeping patterns
    • Play
    • Behavior
    • School performance
  • Lack of interest in favorite toys or activities
  • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training
  • Loss of balance, unsteady walking

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