What Is a Concussion?


Although concussions are relatively common, the average person isn’t all that familiar with their causes, symptoms, or treatments. Many people don’t even realize they’re a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI)—or that they have the potential to cause permanent damage.

That’s right; even minor concussions can be permanently disabling, especially if they occur in fairly short succession. As such, these injuries should not be overlooked or underestimated.

There are three primary causes of mild TBI: forceful blows, violent shaking, and shockwaves. All three can jostle the brain, and if it strikes the inner walls of the skull in the process, a concussion can result.

Some of the most common scenarios that cause traumatic brain injury include:

  • Falls,
  • Motor-vehicle collisions,
  • Physical violence,
  • Sporting accidents, and
  • Explosive blasts.

When it comes to concussions in particular, risk factors include:

  • Participating in contact sports,
  • Getting in a car accident,
  • Working in a combat zone or testing explosives,
  • Having a history of concussions, and
  • Being a victim of physical abuse.

Naturally, the signs and symptoms of a concussion depend on the severity of the injury. And because the brain is incredibly complex, every TBI is unique.

Whereas some concussions cause a brief loss of consciousness, for example, others don’t indicate any signs of trouble for hours, days, or even weeks. Once signs and symptoms do arise, though, they typically include some combination of:

  • Drowsiness
  • Tinnitus
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Sensitivity to sound or light
  • Poor coordination or balance
  • Irritability
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech

While there is no way to cure a concussion, there are ways to facilitate the brain’s natural healing process. For example, doctors typically prescribe rest—both physical and psychological—for a few days or weeks following diagnosis. That means staying home from work or school and avoiding both physically draining and mentally demanding activities.

Resuming your normal routine gradually will also help the brain recover faster. If you try to do too much too soon, your condition may regress, and it will take longer to overcome the concussion.

If the injury was especially severe—or you have a history of trauma—you may experience post-concussive syndrome. Characterized by symptoms that are similar to those of a mild TBI—headaches, tinnitus, dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, anxiety, and insomnia, for example—post-concussive syndrome can last for several weeks or months. And in some cases, it persists for a year or more.

While there is no single treatment for the disorder, your doctor can help you manage the worst of its symptoms so you can lead a relatively normal life.

Speak with a St. Petersburg Brain Injury Attorney in a Free Consultation

If you or someone you loved sustained a concussion because another party failed to act with reasonable care, contact Emerson Straw. We understand the financial and emotional toll a brain injury can take on the whole family. Call (727) 821-1500 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a brain injury lawyer.