Concussion

  • Treatment

    A concussion with bleeding or brain damage must be treated in a hospital.

    If the concussion occured during a sporting event and resulted in a headache, confusion, or change in alertness, a trained person must determine when that person can return to playing sports.

    Children with concussion symptoms should avoid sports and from being overly active during recess, physical education classes, and other playtimes. Ask your doctor when your child can return to normal activities.

    When your child can safely return to normal activities depends on the severity of the concussion. Some children may need to wait 1 to 3 months. Ask your child's doctor if it is okay before the child participates in any activity where there is a risk of hitting or injuring the head. Specifically, ask when your child can:

    • Play contact sports, such as football, hockey, and soccer
    • Ride a bicycle, motorcycle, or off-road vehicle
    • Driving a car (if they are old enough and licensed)
    • Ski, snowboard, skate, or participate in gymnastics or martial arts

    Some organizations recommend that a child who had a concussion avoid sports activities that could produce a similar head injury for the rest of the season.

    Treatment for a concussion may include:

    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for a headache. Do NOT use aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), naproxen, or similar drugs.
    • Eating a light diet.
    • Avoiding exercise, weight lifting, or heavy activities. Light activity around the home is okay. You do not need to stay in bed.
    • Avoiding alcohol until you have completely recovered.

    An adult should stay with you for the first 12 - 24 hours after the concussion. Going to sleep is okay. However, someone should wake you up every 2 or 3 hours for the at least the first 12 hours. They can ask a simple question, such as your name, and then look for any changes in the way you look or act.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    Healing or recovering from a concussion takes time. It may take days, weeks, or even months. You may be irritable, have trouble concentrating, be unable to remember things, have headaches, dizziness, and blurry vision. These problems will probably go away slowly. You may want to get help from family or friends before making important decisions.


    Complications

    Complications from a concussion can include:

    • Bleeding in the brain (intracerebral hemorrhage)
    • Brain injury that results in physical, emotional, or intellectual changes

    The second impact syndrome (SIS) is when a person gets a second concussion while still having symptoms from a first one. This raises the risk for brain swelling, which can be deadly.


    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if a head injury causes changes in alertness or produces any other worrisome symptoms.

    If symptoms do not go away or are not improving after 2 or 3 weeks, talk to your doctor.

    Call the doctor if the following symptoms occur:

    • Changes in behavior or unusual behavior
    • Changes in speech (slurred, difficult to understand, does not make sense)
    • Confusion
    • Difficulty waking up or becoming more sleepy
    • Double vision or blurred vision
    • Fever
    • Fluid or blood leaking from the nose or ears
    • Headache that is getting worse, lasts a long time, or does not get better with over-the-counter pain relievers
    • Problems walking or talking
    • Seizures
    • Vomiting more than three times