More About Concussion

Symptoms:

The most common symptoms encountered after mild TBI are attention and memory problems, as well as headaches and signs of fatigue. Other symptoms may include dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and difficulty balancing.

Diagnosis:

Mild TBIs are generally diagnosed after a series of cognitive and neurological evaluations to assess alertness, attention, speech, memory and reaction times. Physicians may also use brain imaging assessments such as CAT scan and MRI.

Treatment:

A concussion can usually be treated with rest and continued observation. Approximately 80% of patients have resolution of their concussion symptoms within three months.

Prevention:

  • Always wear a helmet when cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading and other sports that can cause head injury
  • Wear a seatbelt, even in the back seat
  • Do not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Do not dive in shallow water
  • Do not use your cell phone when driving
  • Pay attention when you are engaging in activities that put you at risk for an injury.
  • Keep outside walkways and stairs free from clutter, ice, and snow

Prevention of mTBI involves taking general measures to prevent traumatic brain injury. Older people are encouraged to try to prevent falls, for example by keeping floors free of clutter and wearing thin, flat, shoes with hard soles that do not interfere with balance.a

Use of protective equipment such as headgear has been found to reduce the number of concussions in athletes.b Improvements in the design of protective athletic gear such as helmets may decrease the number and severity of such injuries.c

Changes to the rules or the practices of enforcing existing rules in sports, such as those against “head-down tackling”, or “spearing”, which is associated with a high injury rate, may also prevent concussions.

aMayo Clinic Staff (2007). “Concussion”. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/concussion/DS00320/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print. Retrieved 2008-01-10.

bPellman EJ, Viano DC (2006). “Concussion in professional football: Summary of the research conducted by the National Football League’s Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” (PDF). Neurosurgical Focus 21

cLevy ML, Ozgur BM, Berry C, Aryan HE, Apuzzo ML (2004). “Birth and evolution of the football helmet”.
(4): E12. Neurosurgery 55 (3): 656–61; discussion 661–2.