Concussion

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

View Concussions & Brain Injuries Slideshow

Quick GuideConcussions & Brain Injuries: Symptoms, Tests, Treatment

Concussions & Brain Injuries: Symptoms, Tests, Treatment

What are the signs and symptoms of concussion?

The signs and symptoms of concussion may be obvious or very subtle. Most patients are unaware that they have sustained a concussion and may not connect their symptoms with a head injury. This is especially true when symptoms develop hours after the initial injury and those events may have been forgotten. Being knocked out (loss of consciousness) or having a seizure after a head injury are not common and may be very dramatic but these two symptoms do not predict the severity of the concussion. Symptoms like mild confusion, disorientation, and irritability are most commonly seen. Symptoms tend not to be objective and may be hard to describe or be appreciated by the patient. Often it is family members or friends who are more aware of the situation.

Typical symptoms of concussion include:

Because of all of the above, students may suffer a drop off in their school work and grades, while adults' work performance may suffer.

Physical Signs

The purpose of the physical examination is to look for abnormalities that would point to bleeding in the brain or to a neck injury and spinal cord damage.

The neurologic exam in patients with concussion should be normal.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/6/2015

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