Wise Up Initiative, An Initiative of The Al and Sharyne Wallace Foundation Wise Up Initiative, An Initiative of The Al and Sharyne Wallace Foundation
About Head Injuries


Facts About Concussions

What is a concussion?
A concussion is an injury that changes how the cells in the brain normally work. Concussions are a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. Even a "ding", "getting your bell rung", or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. Doctors may describe these injuries as "mild" because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious. Understanding the signs and symptoms of a concussion can help you get better more quickly.

A concussion is a brain injury.   All concussions are serious.   Concussions can occur without loss of consciousness.   Recognition and proper management of concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death.
Leading causes of concussions:
(as seen in emergency departments)
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle-related injury
  • Unintentionally being struck by or against an obstacle
  • Assaults
  • Playing Sports
Symptoms of concussions usually fall into four categories:
(Persons of all ages)

  • Difficulty thinking clear
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering new information
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on)
  • Balance problems
  • Dizziness
  • Fuzzy or blurry vision
  • Feeling tired, having no energy
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • More emotional
Nervousness or anxiety
Sleep Disturbance:
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Trouble falling asleep

Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Those who have had a concussion in the past are also at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another concussion.
The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be difficult to sort out. Early on, problems may be missed by the person with the concussion, family members, or doctors. People may look fine even though they are acting or feeling differently.
Some symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for days or months after the injury, or until the person starts resuming their everyday life and more demands are placed on them.


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