What Do I Do If I Think I Have Sustained a Concussion?

If a person’s symptoms are in any way worrisome after a head injury, they should be seen by a specialist in an emergency department. They should also be watched to ensure their symptoms don’t gradually worsen in the minutes to hours after the injury.

For those with a concussion that doesn't call for immediate medical care, but that have symptoms that don’t go away, they can get treatment for those symptoms through their medical care system by making an appointment with a primary care doctor, general practitioner, or wellness clinic.

Most of the individuals who have a concussion will recover fully with very little in terms of medical care.  

Watch more video clips from Dr. Kelly.

The first message for people with an acute concussion is that if in fact they did experience loss of consciousness or a memory gap such that the brain was not functioning for that span of time and their symptoms are worrisome right at the time, they need to get medical care. They have to be seen by a specialist in an emergency department to determine whether there is something worrisome about that. If in fact it’s a milder form of concussion, the kind of thing that happens in sports, for the most part, at least in elevated amateur and pro sports, the expertise to handle that right there is already in place for the most part. For the vast majority of people in this country it’s not. And so the message there is to watch closely to make sure that symptoms don’t gradually worsen over a span of minutes and hours and if they do in fact head in that direction, seek emergency care right away. Having said that, the vast majority of individuals, even under those circumstances recovery fully with very little, if anything, being done. The problem becomes for the smaller percentage, maybe 15 percent of those who have persistent symptoms is that they need to understand that they can get treated for those symptoms and help abbreviate the course of that recovery, protracted recovery if you will or even prolonged recovery, so that it’s important that they seek help through their medical care systems for persistent symptoms that go on for days or weeks. For the most part though everybody, maybe five percentage of the individuals who have concussion in this country will recover fully with very little in terms of medical care.
Posted on BrainLine February 12, 2019.