Dr. M.J. Bazos MD,
What is a concussion?
A concussion is an injury to the
brain. It's usually caused by a blow to the head. Most of the time it doesn't
involve a loss of consciousness.
What are some signs of a
- Vision disturbance
- Loss of balance
- Memory loss (amnesia)
- Ringing ears
- Difficulty concentrating
How is it diagnosed?
First a doctor examines you. The
doctor will also get information from people who were there when the blow to the
head happened. This is very important, especially if you're confused or if you
lost your memory of the injury. The doctor will test your strength, sensation,
balance, reflexes and memory. In more serious cases, your doctor will want to
get special x-rays of your head, called computed tomographic (CT) scans or
magnetic resonance images (MRI).
Does medicine help?
The treatment for a concussion is
rest. If you have a headache, you can usually take acetaminophen (brand name:
Tylenol). Always ask your doctor before you take any medicine if you've had a
What should I watch out
- Stiff neck
- Difficulty walking, speaking or using your arms
- Severe headache
- Repeated vomiting
- Confusion that gets worse
- Unusual sleepiness
Tell your doctor if
you have any of these symptoms.
When can I return to sports?
You should never return to play
while you have any signs of concussion, like headache or dizziness. If your
concussion is very mild, you may be allowed to return to play after 15 or 20
minutes. If you had memory loss or loss of consciousness, you may not be able to
return to play for 1 to 2 weeks. After a severe concussion, you may not be able
to return to play for a month. If this wasn't your first concussion, your return
to play may take even longer.
are the risks of returning to play too early?
A player returning too early could
suffer from "second impact syndrome," which may be fatal. A second blow to the
head, even a minor one, can result in a loss of the automatic control of blood
vessels to the brain. Never return to a sports activity until you are cleared by
Are there any lasting
effects to a concussion?
people get better after a concussion without any permanent damage. People have
signs of concussion for weeks to months. Repeated concussions could cause
permanent damage. After several concussions, your doctor may talk with you
about changing sports.