Facts about a Concussion

By: Amber Fredrickson, DPT

What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury caused by a direct or indirect force to the head or body that changes how the brain functions.

General symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Drowsiness
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Visual problems
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Fogginess
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor memory
  • Emotional changes including anxiety, irritability or depression
  • If these symptoms occur seek emergency medical assistance:

  • Persistent worsening of drowsiness or cannot be awakened
  • Persistent worsening of confusion
  • Persistent worsening headache or neck pain
  • Persistent vomiting (more than 2x)
  • Unequal pupil size
  • Seizure
  • Blurred/double vision, slurred speech, or loss of motor function
  • Change in behavior (irritability, agitation, or aggression)
  • Recovery may be prolonged by: multiple concussions, history of migraines, learning or behavioral problems, symptoms of amnesia, fogginess, dizziness, anxiety or depression

    Recovery can be assisted by: receiving appropriate therapies, drinking plenty of water, getting 8-10 hours of sleep each night, proper nutrition, wearing noise cancelling headphones and sunglasses to help reduce sound and light sensitivity

    Stages to returning to activity following a concussion:

  • STAGE 1: REST! Physical and cognitive rest with symptom-guided activity
  • STAGE 2: Preparing for school and light exercise
  • STAGE 3: Back to school with accommodations; light, individual activity
  • STAGE 4: Normal school routines with some restrictions; no-contact sports practice
  • STAGE 5: Complete return to school activities; contact sports practice
  • STAGE 6: Return to full activity level; full sports/game activity
  • Children should return to school full time without symptoms prior to returning to sports (Stages 4-6). **PROGRESS TO NEXT STAGE AS TOLERATED ONCE SYMPTOM FREE FOR 24 HOURS**

    For more information about concussions, please visit: Center of Disease Control: Heads Up