Concussion: Causes, diagnosis and treatment

A concussion is a head injury that can occur at any age. The leading cause of concussion is falls. Symptoms of concussion are varied. So is concussion dangerous? Let's find out together with SignsSymptomsList


What is a concussion?

A concussion is an injury to the head that affects the brain. The effects are usually transient but can sometimes be long-lasting. Symptoms include headaches, impaired concentration, memory, balance, and connection with those around them. Children are at risk of concussion from hitting their head somewhere, falling or being in a traffic accident. Some children lose consciousness after a concussion, but most do not. Falls are often the leading cause of concussion. In addition, concussion can occur when children play sports, like soccer or rugby. Most children recover completely from a concussion

Signs of concussion in children

The signs of a concussion are often the same at any age. However, the doctor still needs to consider your child's age when taking your child for a diagnosis.

Signs of concussion in babies:

In infants, signs of a concussion include:

  • Cry when you move your baby's head
  • Irritated
  • Change sleep. Children sleep more or less
  • Vomit
  • There is a bump or bruise on the head.

Signs of a concussion in a toddler:

Symptoms of a concussion can be very subtle and do not always appear immediately after a concussion. In some cases, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer.

Common symptoms after a concussion are headache, memory loss, and confusion. Amnesia can include a child forgetting what caused the concussion.

Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Tinnitus
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Blurred vision

Other symptoms include:

  • Confusion, feeling that everything is not clear
  • Short-term memory loss, around the time of the concussion
  • Dizzy

People around the child often see the child with the following signs:

  • Transient loss of consciousness
  • Stuttering, not speaking clearly
  • Answer questions slowly
  • Stunned state
  • Loss of memory, like asking the same question over and over

Some symptoms appear later, many days after the injury, including:

  • Impaired memory and concentration
  • Easy to stimulate or change personality
  • Excessive sensitivity to light and sound
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Having psychological problems and depression
  • Disorders of smell and taste (smell-taste)

Concussion: Causes, diagnosis and treatment

After a concussion, some children become irritable and change their behavior

Some symptoms in older children

Headache is a very common symptom in children. Although concussion is difficult to recognize in infants and toddlers because they are unable to describe the symptoms the child is having. So, symptoms of concussion in young children include:

  • Ecstatic
  • Doesn't listen or gets tired easily
  • Ease of stimulation and changeable temperament
  • Losing balance and not being able to walk steadily
  • Babies cry more than usual
  • Change in eating habits or sleep cycle
  • Decreased interest in toys that were previously enjoyed by the child
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsion

When should I take my child to the doctor?

You should take your child to the doctor after 1-2 days if:

Children who have had a head injury, even children do not show signs of needing emergency care.

If the child shows no signs of head injury, is alert, walks normally, and responds normally, the injury is likely to be mild and does not require further testing.

In some cases, if your child wants to go on vacation, you can still put him to bed. However, if your child's symptoms get worse, you need to take him to the emergency room right away.

Take your child to the emergency room if he or she has had a head injury and has the following additional symptoms:

  • Vomiting or nausea that recurs many times
  • Loss of consciousness lasting more than 30 seconds
  • Increasing headache
  • Bleeding or discharge in the ears or eyes
  • Decreased visual field, as due to dilated pupils or unequal pupils
  • Tinnitus does not decrease
  • Weak hands or feet
  • Pale skin that lasts more than an hour
  • Behavior change
  • Confusion, children find it difficult to recognize who is around or where they are
  • Difficulty speaking confused
  • Having trouble connecting with people around or having psychological problems
  • Changes in physical activity, such as slipping or becoming clumsy
  • Seizures or seizures
  • Persistent or recurrent dizziness
  • Symptoms worsen over time
  • Swelling of the head or bruising on the baby's head, especially in babies under 12 months.

Concussion: Causes, diagnosis and treatment

After a concussion, the baby may cry continuously and change the sleep cycle

For athletes

People who have had a concussion are often unable to participate in that sporting activity anymore. Experts recommend that athletes who suspect they have a concussion should not participate in the sport anymore because it can re-emerge the symptoms of a concussion.

Children and adolescents should see a sports specialist for a better evaluation of a concussion. Experts recommend that adults, children and adolescents who have had a concussion should not play a sport that has caused the problem.

What is the cause of a concussion?

The brain is usually stabilized in the skull with the structure of the skull and cerebrospinal fluid inside. Anything that causes a bump to the head, neck, and upper body can cause the brain to slide backward and forward over the level. Some causes of sudden traumatic brain injury are caused by a car crash or by excessive bouncing shock, causing brain injury. These injuries often happen very quickly, causing the symptoms of a concussion.

Traumatic brain injury can lead to bleeding inside the brain, causing confusion and lethargy. Symptoms usually appear immediately, but some appear later.

Bleeding in the brain can cause bleeding to death. That's why anyone who has had a traumatic brain injury must be hospitalized and monitored for many hours so that they can get emergency care in time if symptoms worsen.

What are the risk factors for concussion?

Activities and factors that increase the chance of a concussion include:

  • Falls, especially in young children and the elderly
  • Practicing high-risk sports, such as rugby, football, boxing, etc.
  • Participating in high-impact sports without wearing protective gear
  • Having an accident while riding a motorbike, large displacement vehicle
  • Accident while cycling or walking
  • An accident occurred while participating in the battlefield
  • Victims of violence
  • Have had a concussion before?

Concussion: Causes, diagnosis and treatment

Children need to wear protective gear when practicing resistance sports

What are the complications of concussion?

Possible complications of a concussion include:

  • Headache after the accident. This condition can occur within 7 days after the injury
  • Dizziness after the accident. People with a concussion may have symptoms for days and months
  • Post-concussion syndrome. A small number of people (15-20%) have headaches, confusion and difficulty thinking, which can last up to 3 months. If symptoms persist for more than 3 months, it is called post-concussion syndrome
  • Other consequences of brain damage.
  • Secondary trauma syndrome. Rarely, occurs after the first symptoms have resolved, often as a result of cerebral edema and death.

Methods to prevent concussion

Some of the following tips will help reduce the risk of concussion:

  • Wear protective gear when engaging in resistance or risk activities
  • Wear seat belt while riding
  • Make sure your home is safe for children.
  • Keep your child in mind at all times, and reduce the risk of injury to them by blocking stairs and installing protective nets on windows.
  • Exercise regularly and increase body strength and balance
  • Helping athletes as well as young parents to recognize the signs of concussion

How is a concussion diagnosed?

The doctor will examine and ask more about the child's medical history, as well as perform a careful neurological exam. Additional tests your doctor may do to diagnose the cause of your child's symptoms.

Neurological examination

After your doctor takes a detailed history, especially about the mechanism of injury, your doctor will further evaluate:

  • Market
  • The ability to hear
  • Muscle strength and sensation
  • The ability to balance
  • Ability to coordinate
  • Reflex

Cognitive assessment

Doctors perform a series of tests to help assess thinking ability. Tests include:

  • Memorize
  • Concentrate
  • The ability to perceive surroundings

Diagnostic imaging tests include:

Brain imaging tests are done when a person with a concussion has severe headaches, seizures, severe vomiting, and/or other symptoms that get worse. It is possible that through the means of imaging, the doctor will detect the location of the brain injury or the bleeding and edema in the skull area.

CT-scan of the brain is the gold standard and should be performed in adults with traumatic brain injury. In children with suspected concussion, CT-scan is useful only when a skull fracture is present. And note, limit children's exposure to too much rays. MRI helps detect changes in the brain, or helps detect other complications caused by a concussion


Your doctor may recommend that you stay in the hospital overnight or you can stay at home if someone is watching you for 24 hours. Caregivers should shake the baby often to make sure the baby is awake.

Treatment of concussion

Concussion: Causes, diagnosis and treatment

After a concussion, you should give your child plenty of rest to recover quickly

The following steps help restore the brain and speed up recovery:

  • Rest both physically and mentally. This is the best way to help the brain return to normal. Limit doing things that require a lot of thinking for 1-2 days after the concussion. In addition, you also limit children from playing games or playing computers, watching TV because these are activities that require high concentration, thus can aggravate the disease.
  • Consider having your child reduce school or work hours, get more rest, and cut back on assignments or to-dos during this recovery period.
  • Learn how to get back to everyday life. Your doctor will show you how to gradually return to your usual activities, as well as gradually increase your workload or study/work time.
  • Pain relief when needed. It is possible that a person with a concussion can endure a headache that lasts for weeks, so the use of pain relievers is necessary. However, medications with a risk of bleeding such as ibuprofen or aspirin should be avoided.

In summary, concussion is a common condition in children, especially when participating in high contact sports without protective equipment. Usually the doctor will do a careful physical exam and do some more tests to rule out other dangerous conditions. If you found the article useful, please share it with everyone.

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