Causes and Symptoms of Concussions


Concussions are a very common injury to the brain. A concussion happens when the brain is jostled inside the skull because of an external hit to the head or body. The American Brain Foundation estimates that between 1.6 million and 3.8 million people suffer from concussions each year and at least half of which go unreported or undiagnosed. Even though concussions can be minor, they are still considered a brain disorder and have the potential to cause lasting or permanent impacts.

The Most Common Causes of Concussions:

  • Car accidents
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries

A concussion can happen to anyone. However, concussions are more common in young children, athletes, and people aged 65 and older.

High-contact sports such as football, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, lacrosse, field hockey, and wrestling are the sports that put athletes at the greatest risk for a concussion. For younger children, concussions can occur when they take a fall on the playground or off a bicycle. The results of a fall can cause a concussion in elderly adults.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion can show up right after the initial hit and others may not appear or be noticed until hours or days after the injury. Concussion symptoms can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes. Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.

Most Common Concussion Symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Balance problems
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Depression

While concussions are usually not life-threatening, they are still very serious. It is important to watch for any changes in how your loved one is acting and feeling following a hit to the head.

Although concussions cannot always be prevented, there are safety precautions that can help lower the likelihood of suffering from one.

How You Can Prevent a Concussion:

  • Wear the right protective gear
  • Always play by the rules
  • Practice good sportsmanship
  • Know the symptoms of a concussion
  • Strengthen your neck muscles
  • Keep your home safe and clear of anything that can cause you to fall

To learn more about concussions click here.

It is important to seek a professional to accurately diagnose a concussion. Any of these symptoms should never go unnoticed or untreated, especially after a fall or head injury. Our physical therapist can help with the recovery and monitor of concussion symptoms. Individuals who experience a concussion should limit their physical activity while recovering. Athletes must get approved by a professional before returning back to the game. The course of treatment will depend on the severity of the concussion but typically will include rest and close observation of the individual.

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