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Concussions don't just happen to kids

Concussions and head trauma can occur for people of all ages, including adults. Here's how to recognize the symptoms for you and your loved ones.

October 05, 2022

We often hear about the impacts of concussions on young athletes and active kids, as well as professional athletes, but adults can also suffer from concessions and the impacts can be serious.  Older adults are especially at risk for concussions, and may take longer to recover as well.

What is concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a hit or jolt to the head. It can also be caused by a hit to the body that causes the head to suddenly move, like whiplash, creating a jolt to the brain. When something like this happens, it can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes and sometimes damaging the brain cells.

Kids should always report any blows, bumps, or symptoms to an adult immediately, but adults should also acknowledge those same symptoms in themselves or a loved one.

Helmets are equally important for kids and adults riding bicycles, skateboarding, enjoying snow sports, etc.  Keep in mind, no helmet is concussion-proof.

How can I spot a possible concussion?

Anyone who shows or reports one or more of the signs and symptoms listed below — or even just “don’t feel right” after a hit to the head — could have a concussion:

  • Seems dazed or stunned
  • Appears confused about what is happening in the game
  • Becomes clumsy or sluggish
  • Is slow to respond to instructions or questions
  • Demonstrates mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Complains of headache or pressure
  • Experiences nausea or vomiting
  • Develops dizziness or vision problems

What’s next if you or a loved one experience symptoms?

If you think you or your child may have a concussion, you should visit an urgent care or emergency room for further evaluation.

Concussions affect each person differently. While most people will feel better within a few days, it’s important to rule out serious consequences like brain-bleeds.

In rare cases, a hematoma can form on the brain after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body and can squeeze the brain against the skull. Call 9-1-1 or visit the ER right away if you or your loved one exhibits one or more of these serious warning signs:

  • Dilated pupils or one pupil larger than the other
  • Extreme drowsiness or inability to wake up
  • Slurred speech or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting, convulsions, or seizures
  • Loss of consciousness (even briefly)

Never judge the severity of the injury yourself; a health care provider should assess your injury for a possible concussion. The brain needs time to heal, and this can mean a gradual process that is carefully managed and monitored by a health care provider.

October 05, 2022

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