A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the brain is jolted or shaken inside the skull. This can happen when a person experiences a blow to the head, a sudden change in direction or velocity (such as in a car accident), or a forceful impact to the body that causes the head to whip back and forth (such as in a sports-related injury).
When the brain is jolted, it can cause the nerve fibers and blood vessels in the brain to stretch or tear, leading to a range of symptoms. These may include headache, dizziness, confusion, memory problems, and sensitivity to light or noise. In some cases, a person may lose consciousness or experience seizures.
While most people recover fully from a concussion within a few weeks, there can be long-term consequences associated with repeated concussions or if the initial injury is severe.
Overall, while most people recover fully from a concussion, repeated injuries or a severe initial injury can lead to long-term consequences. It is important to seek medical attention if you or someone you know has experienced a concussion to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment, and to take steps to prevent future injuries. There are rehabilitation strategies, such as Vestibular Rehabilitation, which can assist in recovery from concussion.
Chronic headaches: Some people who have experienced a concussion may develop chronic headaches that persist for months or even years after the injury.
Cognitive impairment: Repeated concussions or a severe initial injury can lead to cognitive impairment, including problems with memory, concentration, and decision-making.
Mood changes: Concussions have been associated with an increased risk of mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
Post-concussion syndrome: Some people experience a condition known as post-concussion syndrome, which involves ongoing symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and fatigue that persist for weeks or even months after the initial injury.
Second impact syndrome: If a person experiences a second concussion before fully recovering from the first, it can lead to a rare but potentially life-threatening condition known as second impact syndrome. This can cause swelling in the brain, leading to permanent brain damage or even death.
Increased risk of other health problems: There is some evidence to suggest that repeated concussions may increase the risk of developing degenerative brain diseases such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) later in life.