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A concussion is an injury to the brain. It is usually caused by a blow to the head, but may occur with severe jarring of the body. Although loss of consciousness may occur, it usually does not. Concussions occur most commonly in contact sports such as football and hockey.

Even mild concussions should not be taken lightly. Neurosurgeons and other brain injury experts emphasize that although some concussions are less serious than others, there is no such thing as a "minor concussion." In most cases a single concussion should not cause permanent damage. A second concussion soon after the first one, however, does not have to be very strong for its effects to be deadly or permanently disabling.

People with concussions often cannot remember what happened immediately before or after the injury, and they may act confused. A concussion can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance, and muscle coordination. Paramedics and football trainers who suspect a concussion may ask the injured person what year it is or direct them to count backwards from 10 in an attempt to detect altered brain function.

  • General Tips
  • Grading Concussions
  • Head Injury Prevention Tips
  • Postconcussive Syndrome
  • Rule Changes in Contact Sports to Prevent Head and Neck Injuries
  • Second Impact Syndrome
  • Symptoms
  • Treatment