Brain Injury Basics
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury-or TBI-caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.
Medical providers may describe a concussion as a "mild" brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a concussion can be serious.
People who show or report one or more of the signs and symptoms listed below, or simply say they just "don't feel right" after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, may have a concussion or more serious brain injury.
Observed Signs of Concussion
- Can't recall events prior to or after a hit or fall
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Forgets an instruction, or seems confused
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows mood, behavior or personality changes
Concussion Symptoms Reported
- Headache or "pressure" in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems, dizziness or double or blurry vision
- Bothered by light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
- Confusion, concentration or memory problems
- Just not "feeling right" or "feeling down"
In rare cases, a dangerous collection of blood (hematoma) may form on the brain after a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body that may squeeze the brain against the skull.
Call 9-1-1 right away, or go to the emergency department if there are one or more of the following danger signs after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body:
Dangerous Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion
- One pupil larger than the other
- Drowsiness or inability to wake up
- A headache that gets worse and does not go away
- Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
- Repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures (shaking or twitching)
- Unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness or agitation
- Loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out). Even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously.
Signs and symptoms generally show up soon after the injury. However, you may not know how serious the injury is at first and some symptoms may not show up for hours or days.
You should continue to check for signs of concussion right after the injury and a few days later. If concussion signs or symptoms get worse, medical attention should be given right away.
The DiVal Safety Training Department can help with your training needs for First Aid. Check out all of the training services DiVal Safety offers, or call the training department at 800-343-1354.