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Evaluation and Treatment for
Minor Brain Injury

What is a concussion?

Concussions occur when the brain is jarred within the skull, resulting in temporarily impaired brain function. The jolt can cause temporary confusion, dizziness, memory lapses and a variety of other troublesome symptoms.

The recent experiences of high-profile professional athletes have shown us just how serious concussion can be. Therefore, anyone who suffers a significant blow to the head should receive careful medical evaluation and treatment.

What are the signs of a concussion?

  • Vacant stare/frequent daydreaming/dazed expression
  • Slow to answer questions or move
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation � doesn�t know time, place
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Impaired coordination or balance
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Impaired memory
  • Any loss of consciousness
  • Poor attention span
  • Poor concentration

How can a concussion become a serious problem?

One troublesome condition is post-concussion syndrome, characterized by headache, fatigue, irritability and memory lapses that can last for several months. Changes in behavior, personality and thinking can also occur and may cause significant disruption in the affected person�s life.

Of even greater concern is "second-impact syndrome". This can occur when someone who has not fully recovered from one concussion sustains another head injury. Under these conditions, even a minor blow to the head can cause serious � or fatal � complications. This is why athletes who experience a major concussion are now barred from play until they have made a full recovery.

Can concussions be prevented?

Yes. Those who play sports � especially hockey, football, soccer, wrestling and lacrosse � should wear a well-designed helmet with an outer shell of high impact plastic and a one-half inch gel or foam liner. It should fit snugly and be held securely in place with a chin strap. Look for a seal on the back of the helmet that indicates it meets design and safety standards. In addition, a properly-fitted, shock-absorbing mouthguard can serve to cushion the energy of an impact, reducing the amount of force that is transmitted to the brain.

Although helmets and mouthguards do not provide an absolute guarantee against a concussion, they can help prevent a serious one.

Thanks to Gary Goldberg, MD,  for providing this information.

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