Concussion

Medical Specialties: Emergency medicine, Internal medicine, Neurology


Clinical Definition

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury or TBI that can alter the usual and normal functioning of the brain. Concussions are caused by a jolt, blow or bump to the head, often during sports, and this can trigger headaches, dizziness and neck pain. Concussions are considered mild brain injuries, but their effects can be serious, and they require medical attention.


In Our Own Words

A concussion occurs when a bump, blow or jolt to the head results in the brain bumping against the skull, which often alters the brain's normal workings. This is commonly due to a car accident, falls, sports and recreational injuries, or an assault. Concussions often result in short-term impairment such as memory loss and disorientation, along with potential for more serious complications, especially when repeated injury occurs.

 

Concussions often affect athletes, especially in contact sports such as football, ice hockey, soccer, wrestling, rugby and lacrosse. Individuals may or may experience a loss of consciousness at the time of impact, but symptoms often include confusion or fuzzy memory, headache and dizziness or disorientation. Medical attention is needed, as serious complications are rare but possible. CT scans rarely reveal a structural injury.  A physician will advise close monitoring of the patients for a few days after the concussion to look for any warning signs such as an inability to recognize people or one pupil becoming larger than another--that might indicate the injury is more serious than believed. Having one concussion increases the risk greatly of having a repeat injury. 

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