Symptoms & Causes Concussion
NewYork-Presbyterian features dedicated Concussion Clinics for children, teens, and adults that offer comprehensive evaluations, treatment of concussion symptoms, and monitoring to ensure patients recover completely and return to normal activities.
What is a Concussion?What is a Concussion?
Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries that may be sustained from a blow to the head after a fall, accident, or during contact sports. While viewed by some athletes as something they can “play through,” concussions are serious brain injuries that need to be treated quickly and appropriately.
If someone who has a concussion experiences another head injury before healing is complete, concussion symptoms may worsen. In addition, recovery may take longer, and in rare cases, a potentially fatal disorder called “second impact syndrome” may occur.
Signs & Symptoms of ConcussionsSymptoms
Concussions may cause different symptoms depending on whether they are mild, moderate, or severe. Signs of a concussion in babies and children may differ from those in adults.
Concussion symptoms may include:
- Feeling of increased pressure in the head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling hazy, foggy, groggy, or sluggish
- Just not “feeling right”
- Feeling down
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of consciousness (may occur with a severe head injury)
Signs of a concussion
Bystanders may notice symptoms more readily than the person who has been concussed. The observable signs of a concussion may include:
- Trouble recalling what happened before or after a hit or fall
- Looking stunned or dazed
- Confusion about how to play a game or forgets instructions
- Slow to answer questions
- Displaying changes in mood, behavior, or personality
What Causes a Concussion?Causes
The brain is a soft, delicate organ surrounded by cushioning spinal fluid and is encased in your skull for protection. If your head or body is hit hard, your brain may bounce around or twist inside the skull and become injured.
Some of the most common ways that people experience concussions include:
- Impact to the head during sports, such as football, soccer, hockey, boxing, skiing, and snowboarding
- Physical violence
- Playground injuries
- Car crashes and other motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
The best way to prevent a concussion is to protect your head during activities that raise your risk of a brain injury. Examples include:
- Wear a helmet while bicycle riding, skating, scooter riding, skiing, snowboarding, motorcycle riding, or while at bat in baseball. Helmets are not designed to prevent concussions, but they do reduce the risk of a serious head injury.
- All motor vehicle occupants should be restrained with a seatbelt, booster seat, or car seat.
- Choose playgrounds with soft surfaces for children to play on, like mulch, sand, or a rubberized play surface.
- Place gates at the top and bottom of stairs to prevent falls in infants and toddlers.
- Avoid or minimize “heading” the ball in soccer, as well as hitting another athlete in the head in any sport.
- Minimize falls among older people in the home by maintaining adequate lighting, removing throw rugs, and installing railings or grab bars for support where needed.
- Prevent car accidents by never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Concussion Care
The staff in NewYork-Presbyterian’s Concussion Clinics include neuropsychologists, neurologists, sports medicine specialists, neurosurgeons, physiatrists, and physical therapists who collaborate to assess and care for patients. They also provide consultations to local high schools, colleges, and professional teams to assess t concussion levels and counsel athletes about the appropriate time to return to sports.
People from across the country and around the world seek out the neurologists and neurosurgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian for their expertise in treating all types of brain and spine disorders, such as concussion diagnosis and treatment. Make an appointment for a comprehensive assessment so you or your loved one recover from a concussion safely.