Whether you’re an athlete or a weekend warrior, here’s what to know about concussions
Dan Han, PsyD, CELM, FANA, is Chief of Neuropsychology at UK HealthCare.
If you participate in sports – like football, soccer, hockey and equestrian activities – you’re at an increased risk for experiencing a concussion.
Understanding what concussions are and what symptoms are associated with them can help you get on the path to recovery sooner and back to the activities you love faster.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a hit to the head. Concussions can also result from blows to other parts of the body. For example, a hit to the torso from a tackle during football could lead to a concussion.
What are the symptoms?
Here are some of the physical signs of a concussion:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty balancing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light and/or sound
- Sleeping much more or much less than usual
There are also mental and emotional symptoms associated with concussions, including:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Short-term memory issues
While some concussions can lead to a loss of consciousness, most do not.
Keep in mind that some of these symptoms might not show up until hours or days after the incident and can last for days or weeks.
When should you see a doctor?
You should seek medical attention if you’re experiencing the above symptoms. The doctor may perform a neurological exam, CT scan and/or MRI scan.
When do concussions resolve?
Most adults fully recover from a concussion within one to two weeks. It takes about seven to 10 days longer for concussions to resolve in children.
Balanced rest, not complete rest, is vital after a concussion, as it helps your brain heal. Your health care provider will help you find the right balance of mental and physical rest without completely cutting off stimuli, which can actually prolong symptoms. Don’t return to exercise or sports without a health care provider’s supervision.
To learn more about concussions and about the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, visit our website.