A concussion may occur when the head hits an object, or a moving object strikes the head. A concussion is a minor or less severe type of brain injury, which may also be also called a traumatic brain injury.
A concussion can affect how the brain works for awhile. It may lead to a bad headache, changes in alertness, or loss of consciousness.
A concussion can result from a fall, sports activities, or car accidents. A big movement of the brain (called jarring) in any direction can cause a person to lose alertness (become unconscious). How long the person stays unconscious may be a sign of how bad the concussion is.
Concussions do not always lead to loss of consciousness. Most people never pass out. They may describe seeing all white, all black, or stars. A person can also have a concussion and not realize it.
Symptoms of a milder concussion can include:
Acting somewhat confused, feeling unable to concentrate, or not thinking clearly
For a mild head injury, no treatment may be needed. But be aware that the symptoms of a head injury can show up later.
Your health care providers will explain what to expect, how to manage any headaches, how to treat your other symptoms, when to return to sports, school, work, and other activities, and signs or symptoms to worry about.
Landry GL. Head and neck injuries. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, et al., eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 680.
Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.