A concussion is the most common traumatic brain injury and initially least serious. In most cases, a concussion occurs after a sudden blow to the head that causes a violent jarring of the brain. A hit to the body can also have a similar effect on the brain. While not every hit leads to a concussion, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms and take the proper steps to ensure a swift recovery.
After receiving a concussion, the brain becomes confused and normal brain functions are disrupted. Typically the temporary effects include problems concentrating, balancing and remembering as well as headaches. Loss of consciousness can occur, but it is not common. This makes it easy for a concussion to go unnoticed by parents, athletes and doctors alike.
In most situations, the concussive TBI is mild and a full recovery is expected. To do this, the brain must rest and have time to heal before being used for strenuous activities, including studying and working on a computer. If a concussion occurs while playing a high-contact sport, such as football, it is crucial to wait until cleared by a medical professional to return to play. Every concussion injures the brain, creating a cumulative effect, and one concussion makes an athlete more likely to sustain a second.
Recognition and Treatment
After receiving or suspecting a concussion, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention. The sooner help is received, the sooner the healing process can begin. Depending on the severity of the concussion, an emergency room visit or hospital admission may be necessary.
Wherever help s sought, the medical professional might want images of your brain or ask to run other tests. Additional testing measures the learning ability of youe memory to further assess the severity of the injury.
According to the CDC, a person who suffers from a concussion should recover promptly and completely, but every case is different. In some cases, symptoms and recovery may last longer, especially among older adults, children and teens. One concussion makes someone more susceptible to sustain another, which begins to prolong the recovery period.
Concussion symptoms may appear immediately or take several days, weeks or months to develop, with the problems ranging from mild to severe. Below is a chart created by the CDC that describes the various thinking/remembering, physical, emotional/mood and sleep symptoms commonly associated with concussions.
|Hard to think clearly||Headache
Fuzzy or blurry vision
|Irritability||Sleeping more than normal|
|Feeling slowed down||Nausea or vomiting
|Sadness||Sleep less than normal|
|Hard to concentrate||Sensitivity to noise or light
|More emotional||Difficulty falling asleep|
|Hard to remember new information||Feeling tired, having no energy||Nervousness or anxiety|
If you’ve suffered from any of these symptoms after receiving a hit to the body or head, contact your physician immediately.
Continued concussions during the course of a person’s life can lead to long-term and progressive effects. Notably, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is plaguing many former NFL players. The buildup of the protein tau on the brain disrupts normal functions and leads to symptoms including mood swings, change in personality, memory loss, depression and dementia.