A concussion is a brain injury resulting from linear (the brain directly hitting the skull) or rotational (the brain swirling forcefully in the skull) accelerations following impact.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Concussion?
Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Those who have had a concussion in the past are also at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another concussion.
Symptoms of Concussion usually fall into four categories:
The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be difficult to sort out. Early on, problems may be missed by the person with the concussion, family members, or doctors. People may look fine even though they are acting or feeling differently. Some of these symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for days or months after the injury, or until the person starts resuming their everyday life and more demands are placed upon them. Sometimes, people do not recognize or admit that they are having problems. Others may not understand why they are having problems and what their problems really are, which can make them nervous and upset.
See Getting Better, for tips to help aid your recovery after a concussion.
Danger Signs in Adults
In rare cases, a dangerous blood clot may form on the brain in a person with a concussion and crowd the brain against the skull. Contact your health care professional or emergency department right away if you have any of the following danger signs after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body:
- Headache that gets worse and does not go away.
- Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination.
- Repeated vomiting or nausea.
- Slurred speech.
The people checking on you should take you to an emergency department right away if you:
- Look very drowsy or cannot be awakened.
- Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other.
- Have convulsions or seizures.
- Cannot recognize people or places.
- Are getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated.
- Have unusual behavior.
- Lose consciousness (a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously and the person should be carefully monitored).
- Have any of the danger signs for adults listed above.
- Will not stop crying and cannot be consoled.
- Will not nurse or eat.