Do you know what a concussion is? Do you know what causes concussions? Do you know how the body reacts to a concussion? What are the signs and symptoms? Are these symptoms permanent? If you or a loved one has recently suffered a concussion you may have many questions. Look no further for all the answers you need.

First, let’s look at some basic anatomy. The human brain is a soft, yet busy organ which controls pretty much the entire body and all its processes. It floats inside the hard, bony skull, buoyant in spinal fluid. That’s right, spinal fluid is in the spine as well as inside the skull, where it acts as a shock absorber for minor bumps and bonks on the head. Together, the spinal fluid and the hard skull work to protect the brain.

Sometimes, the skull and spinal fluid are not enough to protect the brain. A person might take a very hard fall, or might be in a car accident, and the brain strikes the skull and causes in jury. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a traumatic incident like a car accident that causes a concussion. They can happen in sports games when a player falls and hits the ground hard, or even on a playground if a child falls from playground equipment and strikes the ground hard enough.

You may think that in order for a concussion to happen, the person must lose consciousness, or “pass out.” This is not necessarily true. The person might pass out, but they may stay conscious as well. It depends on the person, and on the injury. Symptoms of concussion can be mild to severe, and can last for a few hours, or up to a few weeks or months. Every injury is different.

The concussed person might act forgetful. They might have trouble concentrating, remembering things or thinking clearly. They may suffer from headache and nausea. They may even vomit. They might have blurry vision, feel tired, and have trouble keeping their balance. They might be upset, nervous, anxious or sad. And it sounds contradictory but the concussed person may be very sleepy, but they also may have trouble sleeping. It is best to take notice of anything that is different from what is typical behavior for the particular person.

Children experience concussions as well, and it can be difficult to pinpoint symptoms in a concussed child. Again, it is best to take note of any behavior that is outside the typical range of behavior for that particular child. For instance, if a child fell on the playground and hit their head, cried for a few minutes but ran off to continue playing, you might not give it a second thought, because children fall and bonk their heads a lot. But if that same, typically happy and active child became very emotional, overly sad, complained of a headache, and displayed marked changes in their eating or sleeping patterns, then medical care should be sought for the child.

When it comes to concussions it is very important to know that they vary from person to person. A person might display very mild or very severe noticeable symptoms after a head injury. The best thing to do is simply to observe any changes in typical behavior. If a loved one displays symptoms of concussion, seek prompt medical attention!