What is a concussion?
A concussion is an injury to your brain that temporarily affects your thinking and awareness.
The skull bone protects your brain. Fluid inside your skull also cushions your brain. However, if your head gets hit hard enough, your brain can move inside the skull and bump up against your skull. This may injure your brain and temporarily change the way your brain works.
You may be knocked out (unconscious), or you may just feel confused
Doctors will do a CT scan of your head to make sure your brain isn't bleeding or bruised
Once you get a concussion you can get future concussions more easily, especially if your brain hasn't healed
Repeated concussions may increase your chance of getting long-term brain damage and dementia Dementia Dementia is a brain problem that makes it hard to remember, think, and learn. Most dementia begins little by little and starts after age 65. It’s normal for the brain to change with age, but... read more
What causes a concussion?
Concussions are caused by something hitting your head very hard (head injury). This can happen when, for example, you:
Fall and hit your head
Are in a car or motorcycle crash
Get punched in the head or hit on your head with an object
Many sports have a risk of concussion (see Sports-Related Concussion Sports-Related Concussion A concussion is an injury to your brain that temporarily affects your thinking and awareness. You may be knocked out (unconscious) or may just feel confused. The skull bone protects your brain... read more ).
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
If you have a concussion, you may:
Be unconscious for a while (usually for less than 15 minutes)
Feel dazed, confused, or light-headed
Answer questions slowly
Have a headache, double vision, or sensitivity to light
Be clumsy or have poor balance
Have trouble remembering what happened just before or after you got hurt
What is post-concussion syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome is when you have symptoms after your concussion. You may have:
Dizziness and light-headedness
Being tired, easily annoyed, or sensitive to light or noise
Trouble paying attention
Usually these symptoms go away in a week or two. Less often, these symptoms last for months.
How can doctors tell if I have a concussion?
Your doctor can tell you've had a concussion based on the symptoms you had after having a head injury.
In order to tell whether you've had any brain injury, doctors will usually:
Do a CT scan Computed Tomography A CT scan uses a large machine shaped like a large donut to take x-rays from many angles. A computer then takes the x-rays and creates many detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Each... read more of your head to make sure your brain isn't bleeding or bruised
You may not need a CT scan if your symptoms went away in a few minutes after your head injury.
How do doctors treat a concussion?
Your doctor will have you:
Take acetaminophen if you have a headache
Don’t play contact sports Sports-Related Concussion A concussion is an injury to your brain that temporarily affects your thinking and awareness. You may be knocked out (unconscious) or may just feel confused. The skull bone protects your brain... read more , which put you at higher risk of concussion, until your doctor says your head injury is completely healed and that you can return to play.