Concussion: Would you know it if you saw it?

If a friend or family member had a concussion, would you be able to recognize the signs and get help fast?

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to ask the question, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and although most concussions aren’t life-threatening, they can lead to serious problems if left untreated.

Concussions result from bumps, blows or jolts to the head, according to CDC. They also can be caused by any head trauma that jostles the brain back and forth inside the skull.

In 2010 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), TBIs were associated with 2.5 million emergency department visits, hospitalizations or deaths. Most TBIs, including concussions, were caused by motor vehicle accidents or falls.

Those most likely to sustain a TBI after a fall are the very young and very old. Adults ages 65 and older are more likely to die from a TBI than any other age group.

Because concussions are mild TBIs, they may not be as apparent as more severe head injuries. Signs may appear immediately after injury, but sometimes they may not be noticeable until days or even weeks later.

According to CDC, signs that a person has sustained a concussion may include:

  • Slowed or fuzzy thinking, difficulty concentrating, and trouble remembering new information
  • Headaches, blurry vision, nausea or vomiting, balance problems, sensitivity to noise or light, and fatigue
  • Unusual mood swings, irritability, sadness, nervousness or anxiety
  • Sleep problems, such as trouble falling asleep or sleeping more or less than usual

Get quick medical attention for any of these signs.

You can watch a video that shows how a concussion occurs and find information about preventing TBIs at this CDC website.

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