Recognizing the Signs of a Concussion: When to Seek Medical Attention


Concussions are a common form of mild traumatic brain injury that can occur in various settings, from sports activities to everyday accidents.  Say’s Dr. Samuel Clanton,  recognizing the signs of a concussion and knowing when to seek medical attention is crucial for ensuring proper diagnosis, treatment, and management of this condition. In this article, we’ll discuss the signs and symptoms of a concussion, as well as guidelines for when to seek medical attention to ensure the best possible outcomes for individuals who may have sustained a head injury.

1. Signs and Symptoms of Concussion

– Headache: One of the most common symptoms of a concussion is a headache, which may vary in intensity and duration. It can occur immediately after the injury or develop gradually over time.

– Dizziness or Vertigo: Individuals who have sustained a concussion may experience feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, or vertigo, which can interfere with balance and coordination.

– Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of concussion and may occur shortly after the injury or persist for several hours.

– Confusion and Disorientation: Concussion can cause confusion, disorientation, and difficulty concentrating. Individuals may have trouble remembering events leading up to or immediately following the injury.

– Sensitivity to Light and Noise: Sensitivity to light (photophobia) and noise (phonophobia) is another common symptom of concussion. Bright lights and loud noises may exacerbate symptoms and cause discomfort.

– Changes in Mood or Behavior: Concussion can affect mood and behavior, leading to irritability, anxiety, depression, or emotional lability. Individuals may also experience changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or excessive drowsiness.

2. When to Seek Medical Attention

– Loss of Consciousness: If an individual loses consciousness, even briefly, following a head injury, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Loss of consciousness can indicate a more severe brain injury that requires prompt evaluation and treatment.

– Persistent or Worsening Symptoms: If symptoms of concussion persist or worsen over time, it is essential to seek medical attention. This includes persistent headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or other neurological symptoms that do not improve or continue to worsen.

– Severe Symptoms: Severe symptoms such as seizures, weakness or numbness in the limbs, slurred speech, or significant changes in consciousness require immediate medical attention. These symptoms may indicate a more serious brain injury or other medical emergency.

– Repeated Concussions: Individuals who have experienced multiple concussions or a history of head injuries should be closely monitored and evaluated by a healthcare professional, as they may be at increased risk for complications such as post-concussion syndrome or cumulative brain injury.

3. Medical Evaluation and Treatment

– Physical Examination: A healthcare provider will perform a thorough physical examination and neurological assessment to evaluate the extent of the head injury and assess for signs of concussion.

– Neuroimaging Studies: In some cases, neuroimaging studies such as CT scans or MRI may be ordered to rule out more severe brain injuries such as skull fractures, intracranial bleeding, or structural abnormalities.

– Treatment and Management: Treatment for concussion typically involves rest, symptom management, and gradual return to normal activities. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms such as headache or nausea.


Recognizing the signs of a concussion and knowing when to seek medical attention is essential for ensuring prompt diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and optimal recovery for individuals who have sustained a head injury. By being aware of the symptoms of concussion and understanding the importance of seeking medical care when needed, we can help prevent complications, minimize long-term effects, and promote the well-being of individuals affected by mild traumatic brain injury.

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