Also referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury, a concussion is an invisible injury caused by rapid back-and-forth movement of the head that causes the brain to hit the walls of the skull.
A concussion follows a direct blow to the head or an impact to another part of the body that transmits an impulsive force to the head.
Main signs and symptoms
Emergency warning signs (red flags, call 911)
- Loss of consciousness
- Deteriorating conscious state
- Repeated vomiting
- Double vision
- Epileptic fit or convulsions
- Weakness, tingling or numbness
Signs observed by people present
- Clutching head
- Becomes more emotional, irritable or sad
- Searches for words or answers slowly
Symptoms reported by the individual
- Neck pain
- Headache or pressure in head
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
For the complete list of signs and symptoms, consult the Management Protocol tracking sheet designed for the education field and for sports and recreational activities.
Technological and scientific advances allow for better understanding of the effects of this type of injury on brain function.
However, the international group of concussion experts recognizes that it is impossible to predict the severity, the consequences or the recovery needed based on the symptoms felt after an impact. The majority of concussions show improvement within 10 to 14 days.
The importance of a progressive return to activities
A progressive return to activities prevents complications, respects an individual’s recovery capacity and helps maintain social ties.
Compared to other life situations, playing sports increases the risk of having repeated concussions within a very short period of time. The victim can be more vulnerable to another concussion even if the impact is lighter. In this case, the consequences may be amplified.