Concussion Symptoms and Prevention

Concussions in Adults
A concussion is a brain injury caused by a bump or blow to the head, and is the most common type of traumatic brain injury in both adults and children. Concussions range from minor to major and are usually diagnosed based on symptoms and severity of head trauma. Concussion is defined as a change in consciousness, like loss of memory, and usually involves a temporary decline in brain function that will heal itself over time.

Causes of concussion can include any number of activities resulting in trauma to the head. Most often seen in children are sports injuries and bicycle accidents while adults are more likely to suffer from a concussion as the result of a car accident or fall.

Preventing concussions
•  Wearing seatbelts
•  Using airbags in the car
•  Avoid falls by keeping floors clutter-free
•  Wear thin, flat shoes with hard soles that do not interfere with balance

Concussions in Children
Concussions in children and adolescents have been on a steady rise for the past several years. Whether it’s from bumping their heads; playing on the playground or participating in sports activities; it’s imperative that a child’s concussion be treated properly, as it can affect their development in the future. In collaboration with Meridian Neuroscience, the specialists at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital offer comprehensive care and evaluation to help your child recover and return to normal activity.

Concussions are traumatic brain injuries resulting from an impact that causes the brain to move within the skull. Often, they are caused by a direct blow to the head but a simple blow to the body suddenly moving the head back and forth can also be the cause.

Every concussion is different. Immediately after an injury, your child may seem dazed or dizzy complain of a headache, and may be bothered by bright light or loud noises. They may have trouble with their memory and may not remember the injury itself. Although a child may lose consciousness, a concussion can be present without a loss of consciousness at the time of injury. For children and teens, the recovery time is longer in most cases than in the adult, as their brains are still growing and developing. But with proper care and treatment from our physicians, children are provided with the best opportunity to make a complete and healthy recovery. As parents, it’s important to monitor your child as concussion symptoms can develop days or weeks after the injury.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion
The Concussions Signs and Symptoms Checklist from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is used to monitor everyone with a head injury for a minimum of 30 minutes. Anyone who experience one or more of the signs or symptoms of concussion after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head should be referred o a health care professional with experience in evaluating for concussion.

When it comes to concussion, the CDC encourages everyone to know the following "Concussion ABC’s."
•  Assess the situation
•  Be alert for signs and symptoms
•  Contact a health care professional
 
Observed Symptoms
 •  Appears dazed or stunned
•  Is confused about events
•  Repeats questions
•  Answers questions slowly
•  Can’t recall events prior to the hit, bump, or fall
•  Can’t recall events after the hit, bump, or fall
•  Loses consciousness (even briefly)
•  Shows behavior or personality changes
•  Forgets class schedule or assignments

Physical Symptoms
 •  Headache or “pressure” in head
•  Nausea or vomiting
•  Balance problems or dizziness
•  Fatigue or feeling tired
•  Blurry or double vision
•  Sensitivity to light
•  Sensitivity to noise
•  Numbness or tingling
•  Does not “feel right”
 
Cognitive Symptoms
 •  Difficulty thinking clearly
•  Difficulty concentrating
•  Difficulty remembering
•  Feeling more slowed down
•  Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy

Emotional Symptoms
•  Irritable
•  Sad
•  More emotional than usual
•  Nervous

Be alert for symptoms that worsen over time. You should be seen in an emergency department right away if one or more of the following exist:
•  One pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye)larger than the other
•  Drowsiness or cannot be awakened
•  A headache that gets worse and does not go away
•  Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
•  Repeated vomiting or nausea
•  Slurred speech
•  Convulsions or seizures
•  Difficulty recognizing people or places
•  Increasing confusion, restlessness, or agitation

Additional Information about this Checklist:
This checklist is useful if a student appears to have sustained a head injury outside of school or on a previous school day. In such cases, be sure to ask the student about possible sleep symptoms. Drowsiness, sleeping more or less than usual, or difficulty falling asleep may indicate a concussion.