What is the Connection Between Brain Injury and a Concussion?

A concussion is a form of brain injury. Concussions occur from a sudden blow to the head as a result of an accident, fall, or sports injury. When the brain is forced against the hard surface of the skull, bleeding and tearing of the nerve fibers can occur, leading to brain injury and a concussion. This results in common concussion symptoms including confusion, headache, and dizziness.

Various traumas cause a brain injury and a concussion. Car accidents resulting in blunt trauma to the head are a primary cause. Falls involving hitting the head on either the ground or a stationery object can lead to brain injury and a concussion. Football players and other athletes can sustain a concussion after a collision during practice or sporting events. Infants can suffer concussions if they are shaken.

The symptoms of a brain injury and a concussion can include problems with thinking and memory processes. Confusion and memory loss are the most common symptoms those suffering from a concussion experience. Typically, those that suffer memory loss don’t remember the actual event resulting in the concussion. In addition, concentration problems can last up to several days after the initial impact. Other symptoms include nausea and seeing flashing lights.


All symptoms of a possible brain injury and a concussion should be reported to a physician, and several signs signal a medical emergency. Those who lose consciousness, experience seizures, or have unusual eye movements need medical attention. Other serious signs include repeated vomiting and muscle weakness.

Those demonstrating severe signs of a brain injury, including a concussion, should remain still until they can be assessed by a medical professional. This can be an athletic trainer during sporting events, or emergency medical personnel on the scene of a fall or accident. If the concussion is associated with a neck or spine injury, movement of the patient can cause irreversible damage, including paralysis.

Testing to determine the severity of the concussion and any associated brain damage will include multiple exams. A neurological exam will test for balance, vision, and reflex issues. Imaging tests, including a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test, will provide the physician with images of the brain. These images can help diagnose any additional problems or conditions beyond a possible concussion.

Recovery will aim to treat symptoms and allow the brain to heal. Rest and acetaminophen will help those suffering from a concussion. Aspirin and ibuprofen products should be avoided, as these can increase bleeding risks associated with a brain injury. Return to activity, especially sports, will need to be addressed by a physician. Experiencing a second concussion too soon can lead to permanent brain damage and even death.



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