A concussion is an injury to your brain, which is caused by a sudden, violent jolt. The signs and symptoms of a concussion may be obvious or very subtle. Most patients do not know that they have sustained a concussion and may not connect their symptoms with a head injury. This is particularly true when symptoms develop hours after the initial injury.
Typical symptoms of concussion include:
- Difficulty concentrating or feeling ‘foggy’
- Slower reaction times
- Dizziness, lightheadedness
- Difficulty with bright lights or loud sounds
- Changes in sleep patterns, either insomnia or sleeping more
Concussions most often occur during falls, car accidents or while playing contact sports.
To prevent falls at home that can lead to concussions:
- Make sure your child’s play surface is soft and free of rocks, holes and debris.
- Use handrails when walking up and down stairs.
- Have safety gates on stairs and safety guards on windows.
- Use grab bars in the bathroom.
- Place non-slip mats in the bathroom.
- Keep walkways clear to prevent tripping.
- Make sure rooms and hallways are well lit.
To prevent car accidents and head injuries associated with car accidents:
- Do not drink alcohol and drive.
- Do not take medicines that may make you sleepy, especially when driving or using heavy equipment.
- Obey speed limits and other driving laws.
- Use seatbelts and child safety seats.
To prevent concussions with sports and recreational activities:
- Wear appropriate protective gear for any sport you or your child undertake. Make sure the equipment fits properly, is well maintained and worn correctly.
- Wear a helmet when riding a bike, skateboard or motorcycle or when playing contact sports.
- Wear mouth guards, face guards, pads and other safety gear while playing contact sports.
If you suspect that you or someone else has a concussion, see a doctor. Call 911 if the symptoms are severe.
High Risk Sports: Football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75 percent chance for concussion). Soccer is the most common sport with concussion risk for females (50 percent chance for concussion).