(Closed Head Injury; Head Trauma; Mild Traumatic Brain Injury)
- 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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- Motor vehicles
- Skates, skateboards, and scooters
- Sports and recreation
- Falling down
Physical violence such as
- Assault and battery
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse
- 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
- Iincreased susceptibility to concussion
- Alcohol intoxication
- Loss of consciousness (happens in < 10% of concussions) or memory about the accident
- Low-grade headache or neck pain
- 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 light-headed or dizzy
Increased sensitivity to:
- Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily
- Loss of sense of taste or smell
- Ringing in the ears or trouble hearing
- Feeling sad, anxious, or listless
- Becoming easily irritated or angry for little or no reason
- Lacking motivation
- Listlessness or tiring easily
- Irritability or crankiness
- Eating or sleeping patterns
- School performance
- Lack of interest in favorite toys or activities
- Loss of new skills, such as toilet training
- Loss of balance, unsteady walking
Mental and Physical Rest
Prevent Further Damage
Avoid certain medicines—especially
, blood thinners, and medicines that cause drowsiness
- Talk to your doctor about any medication you are taking.
- Do not take any new medication without your doctor's permission until your concussion is fully healed. This includes over-the-counter medication and supplements.
- Avoid use of alcohol and illegal drugs.
Avoid activities that might jolt or jar your head—re-injury can lead to more severe or long-term symptoms
- Never return to a sports activity until your doctor has given you permission.
- When you are cleared to do so, gradually return to sports.
- Ask when it's safe to drive a car, ride a bike, work, or use heavy equipment.
Avoid a second head injury in children and adolescents (second impact syndrome)
- Even a mild second head injury in children and adolescents can lead to serious damage to the brain. This can lead to unconsciousness and even death.
- Follow your child's doctor's recommendation of when it is safe to return to contact sports or other activities.
- Do not drink alcohol and drive.
- Do not take medicines that may make you sleepy, especially when driving or using heavy equipment.
- Obey speed limits and other driving laws.
- In vehicles, always use seatbelts and child safety seats. Only use child safety seats when traveling. Do not use them outside of the vehicle.
Wear a helmet when:
- Riding a bike or motorcycle
- Playing a contact sport like football or hockey
- Using skates, scooters, and skateboards
- Catching, batting, or running bases in baseball or softball
- Riding a horse
- Skiing or snowboarding
- Wear mouth guards, face guards, pads, and other safety gear while playing sports.
- Make sure your child's play surface is soft and free of rocks, holes, and debris.
- Use handrails when walking up and down stairs—teach your child to do so
- Have safety gates by stairs and safety guards by windows
- Use grab bars in the bathroom
- Place non-slip mats in the bathroom
- Keep walkways clear to avoid tripping
- Make sure rooms and hallways are well-lit
America Association of Neurological Surgeons http://www.aans.org
American Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Center for Disease Control and Prevention Injury Prevention and Control http://www.cdc.gov/concussion
Nemours Kids Health http://kidshealth.org
Brain Injury Association of Canada http://biac-aclc.ca/
Ontario Brain Injury Association http://www.obia.on.ca
Can you recognize a concussion? American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation website. Available at: http://www.aapmr.org/patients/conditions/neurologic/brain/Pages/concuss.aspx . Accessed July 9, 2009.
Concussion and mild traumatic brain injury. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated August 6, 2012. Accessed August 24, 2012.
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Ro YS, Shin SD, Holmes JF, et al. Comparison of clinical performance of cranial computed tomography rules in patients with minor head injury: a multicenter prospective study. Acad Emerg Med . 2011;18(6):597-604.
Sports-related concussion information for athletes. Wesleyan University Athletic Injury Care website. Available at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/athletics/injurycare/concussions.html . Updated January 2007. Accessed July 9, 2009.
Traumatic brain injury. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury/index.html . Updated April 2008. Accessed July 9, 2009.
Traumatic brain injury. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury/index.html . Updated April 2008. Accessed July 9, 2009.
What is neurosurgery: concussion. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.neurosurgerytoday.org/what/patient%5Fe/concussion.asp . Published November 2005. Accessed July 9, 2009.
10/5/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Parikh SN, Wilson L. Hazardous use of car seats outside the car in the United States, 2003-2007. Pediatrics . 2010;126(2):352-357.
12/10/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Bakhos LL, Lockhart GR, Myers R, Linakis JG. Emergency department visits for concussion in young child athletes. Pediatrics . 2010;126(3):e550-556.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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