Head: Concussion


A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, ex. after blow to the head during contact sport, that affects your brain function. What happens is, the head and brain move rapidly back and forth.

This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes damaging brain cells. Most people recover fully after a concussion (usually within 14 to 21 days).


Recovery plans are unique to each person, all involve mental and physical rest and a gradual return to activity. A single concussion usually doesn’t cause permanent damage to your brain. Multiple concussions over a lifetime may result in structural changes in your brain.

Physical symptoms:


  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of memory (amnesia)
  • Confusion
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Disorders of taste and smell (not always, depends on placement of the injury)
Anatomy atlas: “Sobotta: Head, Neck and neurology”, F. Paulsen and J. Waschke
Anatomy atlas: “Sobotta: Head, Neck and neurology”, F. Paulsen and J. Waschke


In rare cases, cerebral hemorrhage can develop with a delay of hours or up to weeks after the head injury. If you recognize some of symptoms below, you must see a doctor immediately. It may be a sign of bleeding between the brain and the meninges.

Seek emergency care for an adult or child when:


  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • A loss of consciousness lasting longer than 30 seconds
  • Progressive headache 
  • Fluid or blood draining from the nose or ears
  • Vision or eye disturbances, such as pupils that are bigger than normal or pupils of unequal sizes
  • Persistent ringing in the ears 
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Behavior changes
  • Confusion or disorientation, such as difficulty recognizing people or places
  • Slurred speech
  • Physical coordination, such as stumbling or clumsiness
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Lasting or recurrent dizziness
  • Large head bumps or bruises on areas other than the forehead in children, especially in infants under 12 months of age

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