With football season here and all the talk about concussions, we thought we would focus on what concussions are and what to do to treat them. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the brain is free to move a little within the skull and can thus be “shaken” by a blow to the head. This shaking is called concussion. Among the more common causes of concussion are traffic accidents, sports injuries, and falls. Concussion produces temporary disturbance of normal brain activity but is not usually associated with any lasting damage to the brain. The victim will suffer impaired consciousness and may be confused, but this lasts only a short time (usually only a few minutes) and is followed by a full recovery. A victim who has been concussed should be monitored and advised to obtain medical help if symptoms such as headache or blurred vision develop later. Always suspect a neck injury in any victim who has a head injury.
- Brief period of impaired consciousness following a blow to the head
There may also be:
- Dizziness or nausea;
- Loss of memory of events at the time of, or immediately preceding, the injury;
- Mild, generalized headache;
- To ensure that the victim recovers fully and safely.
- To place the victim in the care of a responsible person.
- To obtain medical aid if necessary
- If the victim does not recover fully, or if there is a deteriorating level of response after an initial recovery, call 911 for emergency
What to do
- Treat the victim as for impaired consciousness. If there is any loss of consciousness, call 911 for emergency help.
- Regularly monitor and record vital signs – level of response, breathing, and pulse. Even if the victim appears to recover fully, watch him for subsequent deterioration in his level of response.
- When the victim has recovered, place him in the care of a responsible person. If a victim has been injured on the sports field, never allow him to keep playing without first obtaining medical advice.
- Take or send the victim to the hospital if, following a blow to the head, he develops symptoms such as headache, vomiting, confusion, drowsiness, or double vision.
We hope you have learned a little about concussions. Next week we will focus on seizures in adults.
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