A concussion is basically an injury to the brain caused by a direct blow to the head. Even though it is not a life-threatening condition, it can cause serious momentary and long-term issues. Due to the complex nature of concussions, there is no specific management that is applicable to all cases. Each case must be managed on an individual basis.
How a concussion occurs?
A concussion occurs once the head of an individual strikes a stationary or moving object. In case the collision causes the brain to move within the skull, the individual can become unconscious. Even bleeding into the brain is possible, which is why an injured individual must be monitored carefully.
The time span the individual stays unconscious is linked to the severity of the concussion, yet some cases do not always result to unconsciousness.
Who are at risk for concussions?
Always bear in mind that concussions are likely to occur among individuals who engage in contact sports such as hockey, football, boxing, soccer, rugby and martial arts. It can also occur in other sports such as cycling, surfing, skateboarding and baseball.
Symptoms of a concussion
If you suspect that an individual sustained a concussion, you can observe the following symptoms.
- Stunned or dazed appearance
- Clumsy movement
- Responds to questions slowly
- Loss of consciousness (not in all cases)
- Changes in behavior and personality
- Unequal size of the pupils
- Unusual eye movement
Symptoms reported by the individual
- Blurred or double vision
- Memory and concentration problems
- Changes in the sleeping pattern
What is the initial treatment for a concussion?
When managing a concussion, it would require knowledge about the condition, identifying the injury early and limiting the individual from any activity until there are no symptoms while at rest or during activity. If you want to learn how to handle head injuries, click here.
Once the individual exhibits or complains of any symptoms of the injury, he/she must stop the activity or sport. The symptoms and mental status of the individual must be monitored regularly in case the symptoms worsen.
Call for emergency assistance or take the individual directly to the emergency department at the nearest hospital in these cases:
- Severe trauma to the head accompanied by a headache
- Delayed loss of consciousness
- Unconsciousness that lasts for more than 2 minutes
- Persistent vomiting and confusion
- Individual repeats the same thing over and over
- Extreme weakness or drowsiness
Individuals who engage in sports are at risk for injury but it can be reduced by taking into consideration certain measures. Initially, it is important to learn how to recognize the signs of a concussion. When engaged in activities or sports, use appropriate protective head gear where contact is common. Additionally, the individual must wear mouth guards during contact sports since some cases of concussions are caused by direct blows to the jaw.