Concussion - Treatment

The symptoms of concussion usually clear up quickly and without lasting effects. Medical specialists decide how soon a person can return to sports activities based on the severity of his or her injury. All treatment plans are designed to prevent a second blow to the head during recovery. A second blow may cause very serious long-term brain damage.

A Grade 1 concussion is usually treated with rest and continued observation only. The person can return to sports activities the same day if a medical professional approves and all symptoms are gone. If a second concussion occurs on the same day, the person should not be allowed to continue contact sports until he or she is free of symptoms for one week.

A person with a Grade 2 concussion must discontinue sports activities for the day. He or she must be observed by a medical professional and be observed throughout the day until all symptoms have disappeared. If symptoms become worse or continue beyond a week, further brain tests, such as a CAT scan, may be necessary. The person cannot return to contact sports until one week after symptoms have disappeared and a medical professional has given permission.

A person with a Grade 3 concussion should be seen immediately by a medical professional. If symptoms are severe, brain tests and hospitalization may be necessary. Prolonged unconsciousness and worsening symptoms require immediate examination by a neurologist.

A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in problems of the nervous system. The patient should be carefully observed after discharge from medical care. If symptoms reappear or become worse, further neurological tests may be necessary.

A person with a Grade 3 concussion should avoid contact sports for at least a month after all symptoms have disappeared. If brain tests indicate that brain swelling or bleeding has occurred, the athlete should give up contact sports for the season and, if symptoms are bad enough, indefinitely.

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