What is a Concussion?
A concussion occurs when a sudden force to the body interrupts brain function. Although it is commonly believed that a head injury is involved, this is not always the case. In addition, not every head injury results in a concussion—and other serious brain, head, and neck injuries could coincide with a concussion.
A concussion involves changes in the chemistry of the brain, although you do not need to lose consciousness to have a concussion. The chemical changes in the brain last longer than the symptoms, so your doctor will typically recommend that you rest and avoid contact sports for at least a week. The effects of concussions vary among individuals—and many mild concussions often go undiagnosed and unreported.
Twenty percent of all concussions are sports-related. There are many symptoms athletes may report after a concussion. The most common are:
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Upset stomach and/or vomiting
- Difficulty sleeping
- Cognitive disturbances such as memory lapses
- Difficulty retaining new information
Some of the symptoms described above will only last an hour or two and others may last a week or more. If you have a suspected concussion, you should see your doctor or make an appointment with a physician in our Sports Concussion Program for further evaluation as soon as possible.
Fast Fact: Sometimes, but not always, an athlete will be "knocked out" if he or she has suffered a concussion.
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