Because ofthe nature of concussion, most diagnoses are either madeat anaccident and emergency (A&E) department, by a paramedic at the scene of an accident, or by a trained official at a sporting event.
The person making the diagnosis willperform a careful physical examination to check if there are any noticeable signs and symptoms of a more serious brain injury, such as bleeding from the ears, while making sure breathing is unaffected.
If you are conscious, you will be questioned so your state of mind (particularly your memory) can be assessed.
Possible questions include:
You may be asked to try what is known as the "finger-nose-finger" test. The person running the test will hold one of their fingers in front of you. You are asked to touch their finger and then touch the tip of your nose as quickly as possible.
This test is a good way of assessing what effect the concussion has had on your balance and co-ordination.
If you are unconscious, as a precaution it is assumed thatyou have a serious neck or spinal injury until proved otherwise. You should therefore notbe moved until a specialist brace can be fitted around your neck and spine to protect it.
Similarly, if you see a person who is unconscious, make no attempt to move them unless they are in immediate physical danger. Instead, dial 999 for an ambulance and wait with them until paramedics arrive.
In some circumstances, further testing may be recommended if there are any signs or symptoms that suggest a more serious injury to your brain.The most widely used test for suspected brain injury is a computerised tomography (CT) scan .
However, if it is thought you may have damaged the bones in your neck, an X-ray may be used to assess the damage quickly. CT scans are avoided on children under 10 where possible, but may be necessary in some cases.
A CT scan takes a series of X-rays of the inside of your skull and puts them together using a computer. The image that is created forms a cross-section of the inside of your skull and brain.
A CT scan is usually recommended in adults who:
A CT scan is also recommended for adults who have experienced some loss of consciousness or memory since the injury and who:
A CT scan may be recommended in children who:
A CT scan is also usually recommended for babies less than a year old who have a bruise, swelling or cut on the head bigger than 5cm (2 inches).
Concussion (minor traumatic brain injury) is the sudden but short-lived loss of mental function that occurs after a blow or other injury to the head.
Common symptoms of concussion include headache, nausea, loss of balance, memory loss and dizziness. Symptoms of concussion can be mild to severe.
Concussion occurs when a blow or impact to the head causes a sudden disruption to part of the brain known as the reticular activating system (RAS).
Concussion is often diagnosed in the accident and emergency (A&E) department, by a paramedic at the scene of an accident, or by another trained official.
If there are no signs or symptoms that suggest a more serious brain injury has taken place, most cases of concussion can be treated at home.
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is the term used to describe a collection of symptoms that can last for several weeks or months after the concussion.