What is concussion?

Concussion is the sudden but short-lived loss of mental function that occurs after a blow or other injury to the head. Concussion is the most common but least serious type of brain injury.

The medical term for concussion is minor traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of concussion include:

  • brief loss of consciousness
  • memory loss
  • disturbances in vision, such as 'seeing stars'
  • confusion

What is the treatment for concussion?

Most people with mild concussion do not require any treatment as they normally get better by themselves. They will not need more than a period of observation in hospital. However, if there are signs of a more serious injury, they may need emergency treatment.

Patient needs urgent admission in a neuro unit If the person:

  • remains unconscious after the initial injury
  • is having a seizure or fit
  • is bleeding from one or both ears
  • is having difficulty staying awake, speaking, or understanding what people are saying

What are the symptoms of concussion?

Symptoms of concussion can be mild to severe and in some cases emergency treatment may be needed.

The most common symptoms of concussion are:

  • headache, nausea, vomiting,
  • dizziness, loss of balance
  • confusion, such as being unaware of your surroundings
  • feeling stunned or dazed, vacant stare
  • disturbances with vision, such as double vision or seeing 'stars' or flashing lights
  • Difficulties with memory can take one of two forms, or possibly both forms:
  • retrograde amnesia – where you are unable to remember events that occurred before the concussion happened (this usually only affects the minutes immediately leading up to the concussion)
  • anterograde amnesia – where you are unable to remember any new information or events after the concussion happened
  • Both retrograde and anterograde amnesia usually improve within a few hours.
  • A person with a knock in the head and having any symptoms below should be evaluated urgently by a neuro expert
  • remaining unconscious after the initial injury
  • difficulty staying awake or still being sleepy several hours after the injury
  • having a seizure or fit
  • difficulty speaking, such as slurred speech
  • prolonged vision problems, such as double vision
  • difficulty understanding what people say
  • reading or writing problems
  • balance problems or difficulty walking
  • loss of power in part of the body, such as weakness in an arm or leg
  • clear fluid leaking from the nose or ears (this could be cerebrospinal fluid,
  • which normally surrounds the brain)
  • a black eye, with no other damage around the eye
  • bleeding from one or both ears
  • sudden deafness in one or both ears

What is Post concussion syndrome?

This is a syndrome of persistent physical, psychological and or cognitive defects after a concussion that can last for up to 6 months to a year.
Treatment is usually supportive with psychotherapy, antidepressants and largely symptomatic.