Picture of child being checked for concussion.

A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury. Causes of concussions include blows to the head and violent shaking to the upper body. Although concussions are most common in athletes, they can occur in anyone, including infants and the elderly.

The soft tissue of the brain is protected by the skull and is cushioned by spinal fluid. A concussion occurs when there is a sudden impact to or violent acceleration and deceleration of the head, such as during shaking or an automobile accident, jostles the brain inside the skull. This can cause bruising to the soft tissue and damage to the blood vessels and nerves.

What Are the Different Types of Concussions?

There are different types of concussions based on the severity of the trauma and the symptoms. For example:

• A grade 1 concussion is a mild concussion in which the symptoms resolve in less than 15 minutes. A grade 1 concussion does not involve a loss of consciousness.

• A grade 2 concussion is a moderate concussion in which the symptoms last longer than 15 minutes, but there is no loss of consciousness.

• A grade 3 concussion is considered severe and is normally accompanied by loss of consciousness.

What Are Common Signs You Have a Concussion?

Concussions are relatively common; however, they can be tricky to diagnose. Depending on how the injury was sustained, there may or may not be a visible injury to the head. Symptoms may only last for a few seconds. It is even possible to experience delayed concussion symptoms hours, days, or even weeks following the injury. A concussion can cause mental and emotional symptoms as well as physical. Common signs you have a concussion include:

• headache

• nausea and vomiting

• feeling confused or dazed

• slurred speech

• blurred vision

• clumsiness

• sensitivity to light or noise

• dizziness or balance difficulties

• ringing in the ears

• sluggishness

• changes in behavior or personality

• memory loss

• difficulty concentrating

What Are Common Concussion Symptoms in Kids?

Because their heads are disproportionately large for their bodies and they are likely to experience falls or other injuries during play or while engaging in sports, concussion symptoms in kids are fairly common. Concussion symptoms in kids typically include:

• appearing dazed

• seeming tired or listless

• increased crankiness or irritability

• change in sleeping or eating patterns

• lack of balance and coordination

• excessive crying

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you consult your child’s primary care provider for anything more than a minor bump on the head.

What Are Signs of Concussion in a Baby?

Since they are unable to speak or walk, concussion symptoms are often less noticeable in infants. Signs of concussion in a baby may include:

• increased fussiness and irritability

• lethargy and drowsiness

• lack of interest in a favorite toy or activity

• unusual drainage from the ears, nose, or mouth

• vomiting

What Are Delayed Concussion Symptoms?

While most people with a concussion experience at least some symptoms immediately, it is possible to experience delayed concussion symptoms hours to weeks after the injury, including:

• disorders involving taste and smell

• continued personality changes

• ongoing memory and concentration complaints

• sleep disturbances

• ongoing sensitivity to light and sound

• depression and other psychological issues

How Are Concussions Diagnosed and Treated?

If you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered a concussion, you should seek medical treatment right away. In addition to asking basic questions regarding the nature of the injury, the doctor will perform various neurological, cognitive, and imaging tests to determine the type and severity of the injury. In most cases, physical and mental rest will help the brain recover from the damage. It is important to follow your health care provider’s instructions regarding activity restrictions to avoid aggravating or worsening your symptoms. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you have a headache. In the case of a moderate concussion, your health care provider may recommend an overnight hospital stay or that someone stay with you to wake you up every few hours to make sure that your symptoms are not worsening. Surgery may be necessary if your injury is severe enough to cause bleeding or swelling of the brain.

To protect your athletes from serious concussion-related complications, FastMed offers convenient pre-injury baseline concussion testing at all Phoenix, AZ clinics, and post-injury concussion testing at all Sports Medicine clinics. We encourage patients who come to us with injuries to gain PriorityAccess by checking in online and completing their e-registration to ensure that they are seen as quickly as possible. When you arrive at the clinic, let the receptionist know that you registered using PriorityAccess, and we will escort you to the first available exam room.

About FastMed

FastMed Urgent Care owns and operates over 100 clinics in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas that provide a broad range of acute/episodic and preventive healthcare services 365 days a year. FastMed also provides workers’ compensation and other occupational health services at all its clinics, and family and sports medicine services at select locations. FastMed has successfully treated more than six million patients and is the only independent urgent care operator in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas to be awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information about locations, services, hours of operation, insurance and prices, visit www.fastmed.com.

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