The Mayo Clinic defines a concussion as “a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. Effects are usually temporary, but can include problems with headache, concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination.” Concussions can be caused by a blow to the head or excessive shaking of the head and upper body. While some concussions lead to loss of consciousness, many do not, and therefore, many people have had concussions without realizing it. Understanding the symptoms of a concussion can help you or your child get medical attention before the injury becomes more serious.
Here are some concussion symptoms listed by the Mayo Clinic:
- Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
- Confusion or a “foggy” feeling
- Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or “seeing stars”
- Slurred speech
- Temporary loss of consciousness
With children, you may have to rely on nonverbal cues such as listlessness, irritability, changes in eating and sleeping habits, lack of interest and loss of balance.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) also note the following emergency symptoms of a concussion:
- Muscle weakness on one or both sides
- Persistent confusion
- Changes in alertness and consciousness
- Repeated vomiting
- Unequal pupils
- Walking problems
- Unusual eye movement
If you think you might have a concussion, have someone take you to see a healthcare professional immediately. Certain tests, such as an EEG, CT scan or MRI may be done to help determine a diagnosis.
For more information, visit the Mayo Clinic online at www.mayoclinic.com and the NLM at www.nlm.nih.gov.