About Concussions

University Hospitals Provides Expert Care for All Types of Concussions

Concussions can occur in all sports but are common in team and contact sports, including football, hockey, soccer, lacrosse and basketball. This type of injury is usually caused by a bump or blow to the head, but sometimes even a hard hit to the body can cause a concussion. Sometimes, even what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head or body results in movement or shaking of the brain inside the skull. This can lead to symptoms that are serious and require time to recover. Changes in brain function can occur, which may not be obvious to others but can be identified when evaluated by a specialist. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not develop for days. If a child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.

Concussion Warning Signs

It is not always easy to know if someone has had a concussion. Symptoms of a concussion range from mild to severe and can be expected to last days to weeks after the injury, but in rare cases can last months or longer. In fact, approximately 10 to 20 percent of patients have symptoms lasting longer than three weeks. Concussion symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded and/or having coordination or balance problems
  • Not being able to remember what caused the injury or what happened shortly after the injury
  • Acting confused or feeling foggy or dazed
  • Asking the same question over and over, slurring words
  • Blurry vision, light sensitivity or double vision
  • Sensitivity to loud noises or ringing in ears
  • Feeling nauseated or throwing up
  • Passing out at the time of or shortly after a hit
  • Mood changes with inappropriate laughing or crying, feeling depressed or anxious after a hit
  • Trouble sleeping, sleeping more than usual and feeling really tired
  • Trouble concentrating or difficulty remembering recent events

When to Call the Doctor

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. A health care professional will perform a comprehensive history and physical exam and determine if any further testing is required or if urgent management is needed. Children frequently have restrictions in school and other activities when they are first diagnosed with a concussion. A health care provider can outline activities that are safe to participate in, provide recommendations for making the transition back to the classroom easier, and help the concussion recover as quickly as possible.

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