Definition, Cause, Assessment Findings, etc.


An injury to the brain that results in a temporary disturbance in the brain's neural function, resulting from a blow to the head, shaking of the head, or a fall.


A blow or jolt to the head causes the brain to slam into the skull and be injured. Falls, car crashes, bike accidents, and sports are the most common causes.


-loss of consciousness

-persistent headache


-poor concentration

-posttraumatic amnesia


-slurred/incoherent speech

-loss of coordination



-ringing in ears

-vacant stare

-pupils not reacting evenly to light


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Field Treatment

Remove athlete from play. Inform parents of injury. If concussion is very severe (symptoms are prolonged) or athlete has a history of concussions, contact emergency medical services. For any of the following, you should call 911:

  • Has vomited more than once
  • Has unequal pupils
  • Is dizzy, confused or agitated
  • Has weakness on one side of the body
  • Passes out or is unconscious
  • Is very drowsy or unable to wake up
  • Has neck pain after a fall
  • Has slurred speech
  • Is off-balance or has trouble walking
  • Has a seizure


Wear appropriate head protection that fits properly. All head gear should be checked daily for proper fit. Always abide by rules of the game to lessen risk of injury. Read warning labels on proper use on helmets. Wear mouthpieces that provide ample cushioning.

Hospital Treatment

Patient should see a physician to determine when they can return to play and what home care or exercises the athlete should have. They will diagnose the severity (Grade 1, 2 or 3). The patient may need a CT scan to rule out more serious disorders, or to see if there is swelling in the brain. They may need to stay under observation if they had a laceration, unconsciousness, or any severe symptoms.


See the chart for percentage of concussions in each sport. As you can see, football is the main source of concussions for male athletes; for females, it is soccer. Other statistics: 5 to 10% of athletes will experience a concussion during their career, but less than 10% will involve loss of consciousness.