Concussion Assessment for Dummies


The winter season is upon us, and, as well as brushing up on necessary skiing skills,  it might be wise to learn how to assess concussions.  A concussion occurs after the brain has received a blow so strong that the brain has been shaken within the skull.    The jarring of the brain may lead to a short loss of normal brain function but, in most cases, only time will heal the injury.

While typically it is not necessary to lose consciousness to experience a concussion, a concussion can manifest itself in many ways after the collision occurred.  In most cases headaches and neck aches are common complaints, however, nausea, ringing in the ears dizziness and tiredness are also symptoms that could be immediately present after the injury takes place.  Sometimes these symptoms show up later, sometimes hours, days or weeks later.

Immediate medical concussion assessment is usually the course of action after a serious blow to the head.  A patient may seem dazed and unable to remember what happened to them.  In the first place, it is obviously important to check whether the person has a closed or open head injury. An open injury is usually quite dramatic, often showing a loss of blood, and requires urgent attention. A bump on the head is more difficult to assess as to whether a person is seriously damaged or the extent of a possible concussion.  If the patient experiences a momentary loss of consciousness, any amnesia (even for a short period), dazed or confused, vomiting, or seizures that person should be given immediate professional medical attention.

Cases in which such worrisome symptoms manifest themselves perhaps days or weeks after the accident, are also frequent, and likewise demand medical attention.  In the event of an obvious heavy blow to the head such as a skiing accident, a fall from a horse, or a car accident, a CAT scan can reveal if there is bleeding within the skull.  Unlike the other symptoms of a concussion, when blood is being leaked into the brain, medical intervention, and possibly surgery, is necessary.

Concussion assessment is vital if a person has experienced a head injury.   Head injuries are most common.  Typically people may bang their heads by standing up suddenly under an object.   While this does not necessarily lead to a concussion, any instance in which the brain has been shaken can be potentially harmful and concussion assessment is recommended.

When someone has experienced a blow to the head, the best course of action is to ensure that there is another person accompanying the injured person for period of time for observation.  If any of the symptoms mentioned above are noticed, it is wise to seek timely medical attention.  Concussion assessment is not for dummies, it’s a matter of life and, in the direst circumstances, death.  However, in most cases allowing a patient to recover as fully as possible by getting enough rest is vital.  Rest, physical and cognitive rest, is the only recuperative plan if a person has experienced a head injury.

By Persephone Abbott


Medline Plus

Medline Plus




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