Concussion - Adults
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What is concussion?
A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a direct or indirect blow to the head or caused by the head striking something else such as the ground or an apparent body part if playing sport. A concussion can occur whether or not a person is ‘knocked out’/lost consciousness.
A concussion typically causes the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of brain function that resolves spontaneously with time, however, occasionally there can be a more significant or longer lasting problem, and it is important that the symptoms from every concussion be monitored by doctors who understand concussion management protocols when you suffer a concussion, you may experience:
Concussion usually resolves within two weeks (adults) or four weeks (under 19s) with correct management, however can have prolonged symptoms or other more serious complications such as second impact syndrome if return to school/work/sport is attempted too soon.
What should I watch for? (Red flags)
Please come back to the hospital if any of the following red flags occur:
Is it okay to go to sleep?
Concussion often makes a person feel drowsy or tired. Once you have been medically assessed, as long as you are not getting worse, as noted above, it is alright for you to sleep. We do, however, want the responsible adult to be at home with you in case any problems arise.
May I take something for pain?
Do not take any medication unless a doctor has told you to do so. Normally, we do not advise anything stronger than paracetamol (e.g. Panadol). Avoid anti-inflammatories (e.g Voltaren, Maxigesie, Cataflam, Brufen etc.)
1. What should I avoid doing?
2. Can I go back to school/work?
If symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea and tiredness are persistent avoid going to school or work for 48 hours or until cleared by a doctor.
May I eat?
It is fine to eat if you are hungry. Remember, some people do have a sense of nausea and fatigue, and often find that their appetite is decreased immediately after a concussion. Do not force yourself to eat.
How long will I be observed?
You must follow up with a medical doctor after your suspected or confirmed concussion. You must be monitored regularly, and your symptoms observed until they have completely cleared. You must refrain from any physical exertion including strength conditioning until released to do so by the doctor. Return to practice /play and return to school/work decisions are made at the appropriate time by the concussion doctor and these may differ from person to another.
If there are any concerns, please return to ED. Also make an appointment to see the concussion doctor at the concussion clinic.