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What is a concussion with a traumatic brain injury?

Dr. Elif E. Oker, MD
Medical Toxicology

A concussion is a brain injury that occurs after trauma to the head. Some common scenarios that can lead to a concussion include: punches to the head while boxing, blows to the head during football, a knock to the head while biking, head injuries resulting from falls and car accidents. 

After a significant blow to the head, the brain is jostled within the skull. An easy way to think of a concussion is to think of it as a "bruise" to the brain sustained after an external blow causing the brain to strike the inside of the skull.

Signs or symptoms of a concussion vary but can include problems with memory, dizziness or lightheadedness, headache, blurred vision or behavioral changes. In children, behavioral changes, irritability or excessive sleepiness can be signs of a head injury. Persons with a concussion may or may not pass out. Signs and symptoms may be delayed.

The key to concussions as with all injuries is prevention. Wearing helmets during contact sports and while riding bikes; wearing seat belts in motor vehicles can help prevent serious head injuries. Adult supervision on playgrounds and proper gear while playing sports is also essential.

It is important to take head injuries seriously and to seek medical care if you have a serious head injury. A medical evaluation is the only way to know whether you a have concussion.

A concussion is  a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that causes the person to lose consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Usually a concussion is caused by a hard blow or bump to the head that causes the brain to move back and forth very rapidly. This jolt to the head changes the way the brain usually works.

A concussion may or may not show up on a brain scan or imaging test. Skull fracture or brain bleeding or swelling may or may not be present with a concussion. Although concussions are considered to be mild brain injuries, the effects may not be noticed for hours to days and can change the way the person moves, thinks, and acts. In addition, if you have had one concussion, it may take longer to recover from another 

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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.