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What is a concussion?

Concussion is a trauma-induced change in mental status, with confusion and amnesia, and with or without a brief loss of consciousness. A concussion occurs when the head hits or is hit by an object, or when the brain is jarred against the

skull, with sufficient force to cause temporary loss of function in the higher centers of the brain. The injured person may remain conscious or lose consciousness briefly, and is disoriented for some minutes after the blow. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 300,000 people sustain mild to moderate sports-related brain injuries each year, most of them young men between 16 and 25.

A concussion can happen to anyone, at any time. The most common causes of concussion include a blow to the head from a motor vehicle crash, fall or assault. People at higher risk are those who have difficulty walking and fall often, those who are active in high impact contact sports and those who are taking blood thinners, such as coumadin. While concussion usually resolves on its own without lasting effect, it can set the stage for a much more serious condition. "Second impact syndrome" occurs when a person with a concussion, even a very mild one, suffers a second blow before fully recovering from the first.

More information on concussion

What is a concussion? - Concussion is a trauma-induced change in mental status, with confusion and amnesia, and with or without a brief loss of consciousness.
What causes a concussion? - Most concussions are caused by motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. Contact sports are among those most likely to lead to concussion.
What're the symptoms of a concussion? - The symptoms of a concussion include severe headache, dizziness, vomiting, increased size of one pupil or sudden weakness in an arm or leg.
How is a concussion diagnosed? - The duration of unconsciousness and degree of confusion are very important indicators of the severity of the injury and help guide the diagnostic process and treatment decisions.
What's the treatment for a concussion? - A grade 1 concussion can usually be treated with rest and continued observation alone. A person with a grade 2 concussion must discontinue sports activity for the day.
How to prevent concussion? - Many cases of concussion can be prevented by using appropriate protective equipment. Helmets should also be worn when bicycling, skiing, or horseback riding.
What's the post-concussion syndrome? - Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a common but controversial disorder that presents with variety of symptoms including headache, dizziness, fatigue, and personality changes.
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