Specialized Concussion Treatment
A concussion may occur when the head hits an object, or a moving object strikes the head. It can be the result of a fall, sports activity or car accident. A concussion can affect how the brain works for a while. It may lead to a bad headache, changes in alertness or loss of consciousness. Concussions do not always lead to loss of consciousness. In fact, most people never pass out. They may describe seeing all white, all black or stars. A person can also have a concussion and not realize it.
Franciscan Health’s specially trained physician experts know the signs and symptoms of concussions and work closely with patients to customize treatment and return them to normal activities when it is safe to do so.
Concussion signs and symptoms
Symptoms of a concussion may appear immediately or not for several days after an injury. A person with a concussion may experience:
- Headache or pressure in the head
- Balance problems or dizziness
- A sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy feeling
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to noise or light
- Concentration or memory problems
Coaches, parents and family members should look for the following signs of a concussion:
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Forgets instructions
- Loses consciousness, even briefly
- Moves clumsily
- Shows mood, behavior or personality changes
- Is confused about an assignment
- Is unsure of the game, score or opponent
- Answers questions slowly
- Can't recall events prior to or after the hit or fall
What to do if you suspect a concussion
If any of these symptoms are observed, it is time for rest and monitoring. If it happens on the playing field, remove the player from competition immediately and observe his or her condition for several hours after returning home.
- Allow the person to get adequate rest. There is no need to wake them periodically during the night.
- Have them drink lots of water, milk or sports beverages. Avoid salt water, regular soft drinks and fruit juice.
- Give acetaminophen (Tylenol®) as directed, if needed.
- Discourage texting, spending time on the computer or in front of the television. These activities may result in worsening symptoms and slow recovery.
If symptoms worsen or new symptoms develop, take the person to an emergency room immediately.
To avoid additional injuries, do not play sports after a concussion until all symptoms have disappeared. A second impact to an injured brain can cause dangerous brain swelling.