People of all ages are at risk for the mild traumatic brain injury known as concussion. Students may suffer a head or neck injury playing sports such as rugby, football or ice hockey. Sometimes concussions occur when riding a bicycle, roller-blading or skate-boarding. Horseback riding, skiing or riding scooters can involve an injury that leads to concussion. Sometimes, a blow to the head, neck or face that jars the body may occur during an accident on the road. Parents, teachers, coaches, co-workers—everyone should be aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that happens when an injury causes an impact to the head. The brain is normally encased in a protective fluid that prevents its contact with the hard, bony surface of the skull. During a concussion, the brain hits the inside of the skull. Brain cells may be damaged, and symptoms which reflect that damage can occur immediately or develop later.

Immediate Signs of a Concussion

The immediate signs of a concussion might include blurred vision, dizziness, nausea or slurred speech. Balance problems may occur. Sometimes the pupil of one eye is dilated, or one eye or one side of the face may droop. Vomiting or seizures and severe head pain can indicate concussion. A traumatic brain injury may cause the individual to pass out, but this isn’t always the case.

Delayed Signs of a Concussion

Some signs of a concussion can develop in the hours, days or weeks after the injury. It’s imperative to always seek immediate care for a suspected concussion, but even after being checked out, it’s possible for symptoms to develop or linger. This may include physical, cognitive or emotional symptoms. Depression, moodiness, difficulties with sleep, brain fog or memory problems may all develop in the weeks or months following a traumatic brain injury.

Becoming withdrawn or irritable or a declining academic or job performance are some examples of signs of concussion that may evolve slowly, or go undetected for some time. It is possible to struggle with symptoms like these despite a normal CT scan or MRI following a head injury.

Concussion Care and Rehabilitation

While an immediate medical exam is a must at the time of a suspected concussion, follow up care for the fullest possible recovery is also important. A functional neurologist can give individuals the benefit of a comprehensive evaluation that focuses on function. Functional neurology takes advantage of the latest advances in neurological function and technology to determine exactly which areas of the brain have been impacted by a traumatic brain injury. Then, a customized plan of therapeutic support can facilitate healing and recovery. Whether the injury occurred recently or some time ago, it’s likely functional neurology can help with concussion symptoms through safe, natural rehabilitation.