When a bump on the head is more than a bump on the head

Knowing the symptoms of concussion are very important, and not just for your football player.  Concussion is the result of a blow to the head that causes swelling within the skull.  The direct blow is usually not the cause of the concussion, rather it’s the deceleration of the head after a hit.

Multiple concussions, no matter how far apart they occur, should be taken very seriously.  Evidence shows that sufferers of repeated head injury may be at higher risk for CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), a potentially life threatening disorder.

What are the signs of concussion?  We’ve listed many of the signs of concussion below.  However, this list should not be considered an “end all, be all” list.

A good resource:  http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/symptoms.html

If any of these symptoms occur after a blow to the head an evaluation should be performed by a trained professional.  In more severe instances the individual should be taken to the Emergency room

  • Brief loss of consciousness (if person is unconscious for more than 20-30 seconds they should be taken to the Emergency Room immediately)
  • Experience a “fog” or confusion
  • Ears ringing
  • Vomiting/ Nausea
  • Appearing “out of it” or dazed
  • Fatigue
  • Headache or pressure in the head

Some delayed symptoms which can onset days, weeks or even months after a blow to the head:

  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Depression
  • Changes in taste or smell

Go immediately to the Emergency Room IF:

  • Slurred speech
  • Don’t know date, time or are disoriented.
  • Can’t recognize faces
  • Stumbling, loss of physical coordination
  • Headache that gets worse over time
  • Unrelenting dizziness
  • Vision disturbances, dilated pupils, pupils that are different sizes
  • Unconscious for more than 20-30 seconds

In small children/ toddlers you should consult your physician if a blow to their head is anything more than a little bump as they can’t communicate what they’re feeling.

Some signs include:

Appearing dazed, change in eating patterns, irritability, loss of balance, change in sleep patterns, not wanting to play with their favorite toy.