What is a concussion?
A concussion is a jolt to the brain, which may cause amnesia, confusion, nausea, vomiting and excessive sleepiness. Sometimes a person may lose consciousness or be “knocked out” with a concussion BUT, a concussion may occur without loss of consciousness. Although the symptoms of a concussion usually go away within 24 to 48 hours, they may last for days or weeks. Very rarely a person may have symptoms that continue for several months or that are permanent. For this reason it is very important that the injured person follow-up with a qualified and trained head injury specialist for a comprehensive concussion examination.
What are the symptoms of a Concussion?
- Memory problems
- Concentration difficulty
- Slowed decision making
- Feeling mentally foggy
- Slowed thinking
- Slowed speech
- Becoming easily confused
- Feeling tired all of the time
- Difficulty with balance
- Change in sleeping pattern
- Feeling light headed or dizzy
- Sensitive to lights or sounds
- Blurred vision
- Loss of taste or smell
- Neck pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Changes in personality
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty in school
Infants and young children can not describe their symptoms. You may notice:
- Behavior changes
- Tiring easily
- Change in appetite
- Change in sleep pattern
- Lack of interest in favorite toys or activities
- Loss of new developmental milestones, such as toilet training
- Unsteady walking
How severe is my concussion?
Some physicians use a grading scale to rate the severity of a concussion. There are many different grading scales and not everyone agrees which grading scale to use. Some experts don’t think that physicians should use grading scales at all and should just look at each person individually. In general, the more concussions you have had in your life, the longer and more severe the most recent concussion will be. Any symptoms that last longer than a few days should be considered serious and require a visit with a brain injury specialist. The best way to determine the severity of a concussion is to undergo an assessment by a specialist trained in concussion injuries. This is typically a neuropsychologist or neurologist, but other trained health care providers may also be able to provide a competent assessment. The assessment should include some testing of your brain functioning. The most efficient evaluation system utilizes a computerized test which is very sensitive to concussive injuries. The doctors at The Brain and Behavior Clinic, in association with leading researchers in the field of concussive injuries at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center, utilize the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) system.
How to recover from a concussion?
Rest is very important. You should limit your activities in school and at play for the first 48 - 72 hours following any suspected concussive injury until you can be evaluated by a doctor specializing in concussion injuries. YOU SHOULD NOT RETURN TO PLAY UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN EVALUATED BY A BRAIN INJURY SPECIALIST. You should expect to gradually feel better, but recovery varies from person to person. An evaluation by a qualified health care professional is imperative for determining the safe resumption of activities for yourself or your child.
It is very important that you or your child not have another concussion before the brain has had a chance to heal. The injured person who is continuing to experience signs and symptoms of a concussion must avoid any activity that may cause a second head injury until all symptoms from the first injury are totally gone. This includes activities such as skiing, snowboarding, bike riding, rollerblading, skateboarding and any contact sports.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS SUFFERED A RECENT HEAD INJURY AND THE SYMPTOMS HAVE NOT RESOLVED, SEE YOUR PHYSICIAN AND ASK THEM TO CONTACT THE DOCTORS AT THE BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR CLINIC ABOUT YOUR CONDITION. YOU MAY ALSO CALL US DIRECTLY AT 303 938 9244 TO SET UP AN APPOINTMENT OR SEND US AN EMAIL.