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Concussion Management

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a hit to the body that causes the brain to jolt around in the skull. This sudden injury can affect the brain’s chemical makeup or damage or stretch the cells in the brain.

Although a concussion is not generally life-threatening, it is still a serious brain injury that needs to be treated immediately and cared for properly. If an injury or accident results in a blow to the head or jolt to the body and concussion is suspected, especially in children or teens and student athletes, make sure they are evaluated right away. Proper concussion care can prevent further brain injury.

Concussion signs and symptoms

It is important for brain injuries to be treated immediately. If you or one of your children has suffered a possible brain injury, call your doctor as soon as possible if you show or observe any of the following signs or symptoms including:

  • Appears dazed or stunned

  • Asks questions slowly

  • Balance problems or dizziness

  • Change in sleep patterns

  • Concentration or memory problems

  • Confusion

  • Double or fuzzy vision

  • Feeling foggy

  • Feeling sluggish

  • Forgetful

  • Forgets events after the injury (anterograde amnesia)

  • Forgets events prior to the injury (retrograde amnesia)

  • Headache

  • Loses consciousness (even temporarily)

  • Moves clumsily

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Sensitivity to light or noise

  • Shows behavior or personality changes

  • Unsure of the details of current situation

Many people recover from concussions quickly and easily. Other may experience symptoms for days or weeks. Those who have had a previous concussion are at greater risk and face a longer recovery if a second concussion occurs.

Concussion diagnosis and screening

Our specialists use a computerized concussion evaluation tool to help with recovery and returning to normal activity levels. It measures attention span, memory, problem-solving and reaction times. Testing before a concussion occurs can provide a baseline for comparison after injury.

Your doctor may also diagnose a concussion using:

  • A neurological evaluation

  • Cognitive testing, conducted by a neuropsychologist

  • Imaging studies such as CT scan or MRI

Concussion treatment

Full recovery from concussion is key to long-term brain health. Rest is the most important component of recovery – both physical and mental rest. Your brain needs time to heal, so you should return to your daily activities slowly and only under your doctor’s direction.

People who are recovering from a concussion should:

  • Avoid intense physical and mental activity, including computer and mobile device use

  • Avoid taking medication without your doctor’s knowledge and consent, including aspirin, blood thinners and drugs that cause drowsiness

  • Eat nutritious food and drink plenty of water

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep – 7-8 hours of sleep each night

  • Refrain from alcohol consumption

Research shows that people who don’t recover fully from a concussion are significantly more vulnerable to the serious consequences of a second concussion, especially recurrent and cumulative effects. If you suspect a concussion, seek medical treatment within 24 hours of the injury.

To schedule an appointment for concussion evaluation or treatment, call 620-792-2511.

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