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Are concussions serious?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

In the majority of cases, concussions are not fatal. However, if you experience a head injury, it is recommended that you see a doctor immediately. The symptoms of more serious brain injuries are often very similar to that of a concussion. A doctor can use a CT scan or MRI to determine that you are not suffering from a more severe brain bleed or condition.

Concussions are very serious. We are learning more and more about concussions each year. We know that the younger a person is when they suffer a concussion, the more serious it can be—the concussion takes longer to recover, can more easily recur, and can affect the development and function of the brain. It is critical that concussions be managed by an expert with experience and tools to treat and manage concussions.

Any blow or injury to the head should be taken as a serious matter. If the blow to the head is severe enough to cause a tear of a blood vessel under the skull, this can cause an accumulation of blood that will cause the brain to become displaced. This condition can be life threatening if the added pressure against the brain is not released. Any concussion which causes a loss of consciousness for an extended period of time can increase the risk of the brain swelling.

If a concussion has been severe or the patient does not rest enough, there is a risk that the symptoms may stay for months or become permanent. Patients can also develop epilepsy after a concussion, and this is most likely to occur when concussions occur repeatedly, such as in boxing.

This answer provided for NATA by the Georgia College & State University Athletic Training Education Program.

Yes, concussions are serious, because it is an injury to your brain. While there are some things we can do to help you recover, you only have one brain and it's the most essential human body part, so we take all concussions seriously. All concussions need medical evaluation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.