Concussions - The Basics

Concussions are caused by trauma to the head, inducing alterations in mental status. About 10 percent of concussion victims suffer loss of consciousness.

Concussion symptoms range from a headache and blurred vision to nausea and personality changes. More than 300,000 sports-related concussions occur each year. Recent estimates claim that 10 percent of all high school kids who engage in contact sports will sustain a concussion each year. Almost two-thirds of those concussions occur in football.

Concussion Symptoms and Signs

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss (amnesia)
  • Ringing ears
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Slow to answer questions
  • Personality changes
  • Aversion to bright lights and loud sounds

What should I watch out for?

You should call your doctor immediately if you have the following concussion symptoms or signs:

  • Stiff neck
  • Difficulty walking, speaking or using your arms
  • Severe headache
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Confusion that gets worse
  • Convulsions
  • Unusual sleepiness

What happens if I have suffered a concussion and I do not seek help?

You could suffer a fatal event called "second impact syndrome." This occurs when a second blow to the head, even a minor one, makes your body lose control of blood flow to the brain. More commonly, returning to a sport too soon will put you at increased risk to suffer another or more concussions. Research has shown that multiple concussions have a cumulative effect and can cause permanent problems with memory, processing new information, and even your personality.

Is there any way to prevent concussions?

If you are involved in a contact sport or one in which you might suffer head trauma, wearing a helmet is imperative.

In addition to concussion treatments, Emory Sports Medicine offers computerized neuropsychological testing for sports programs. Used by professional teams in the NFL and NHL, this allows athletes to be tested before the season. If they suffer head trauma while engaged in their sport, an accurate report on their neuropsychological status can be determined.

Emory Sports Medicine is the only sports medicine provider in Atlanta with four physicians specifically trained in the evaluation and management of sports concussions.

If you or someone you know has suffered a sports-related concussion, please contact us at 404-778-3350 for a concussion symptoms test, evaluation and comprehensive treatment plan by one of our sports concussion specialists.

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