How to identify a concussion and when to seek help

How to identify a concussion and when to seek help

Symptoms of a concussion

Concussion symptoms typically fall into four categories:

•Thinking/Remembering - Difficulty thinking clearly; feeling slowed down; difficulty concentrating and remembering new information.

Related: Tips to help you get back in the game after a concussion

•Physical - Headache; fuzzy or blurry vision; nausea or vomiting (early on); dizziness; sensitivity to noise or light; balance problems; feeling tired or having no energy.

•Emotions/Mood - Irritability; sadness; more emotional; nervousness or anxiety.

•Sleep - Sleeping more or less than usual or trouble falling asleep.

When to seek medical attention

Seek immediate medical help if, after a head injury, the person experiences:

•A headache that gets worse or doesn’t go away

•Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination

Related: The role of rest in treating youth concussions.

•Repeated vomiting or nausea

•Slurred speech

•Crying that can’t be consoled

•No appetite

Go to the emergency room immediately if the person:

•Looks very drowsy or can’t be awakened

•Has one pupil larger than the other

Related: Which high school sports have the highest incidents of concussions?

•Has convulsions or seizures

•Can’t recognize people or places

•Is restless, confused or agitated

•Has unusual behavior

•Loses consciousness

Related: Researchers work to improve concussion diagnosis and treatment.

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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Get back in the game: 5 tips on treating concussion

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If a concussion occurs while participating in a sport, as it did to Woodbridge, Va., high schooler Simon Maybee, it's important to see a doctor with experience in diagnosing and treating concussions. (Photo by Meredith Rizzo)
If a concussion occurs while participating in a sport, as it did to Woodbridge, Va., high schooler Simon Maybee, it's important to see a doctor with experience in diagnosing and treating concussions. (Photo by Meredith Rizzo)

Follow doctors orders to heal your brain — or help your child properly recover — following a concussion. Rest is key to concussion recovery.

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