Concussions: What to do post-injury and how to prevent

Concussions: What to do post-injury and how to prevent concussions

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), meaning an injury to the head that affects how the brain functions. Typically, a concussion is caused by an outside force, usually a blow to the head that “shakes” the brain causing chemical changes and/or damage to brain cells. There are three levels to a concussion: Grade 1 (mild), Grade 2 (moderate), and Grade 3 (severe). While there are different severity levels of concussions, even the mild cases should be taken seriously and should seek out attention from a medical professional.

What are the signs and symptoms of concussions?

The symptoms of a concussion vary among the situation and the extent of the injury. Below is Table 1 from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the observed signs and reported symptoms post-concussion. The signs and symptoms of a concussion are not limited to those on this list, everyone’s situation is different meaning there will be different outcomes of the injury.

Table 1: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

What is the recovery process?

Whether you’re an athlete or not, you must follow a return program to ensure you are safely returning to play, school, or work. A concussion doctor in Chicago, a physical therapist, and physician will work with you to create a plan and therapy guide for your recovery. Typically, there will be a process along the premises of rest, light activity, moderate activity, then back to regular activity.

How can I prevent concussions?

Prevention is crucial for concussions since the severity of a concussion increases with each injury. Depending on the sport, there are specific prevention measures you can ask your physical therapist about to reduce the risk of injury. Below a general list of things to keep in mind when going through your day to day.

  • Wearing protective gear during sports and other recreational activities

  • Buckling your seatbelt

  • Keeping the floors clear of tripping hazards

  • Protect your children in the home (For Example: block off stairways or installing window guards)

  • Exercise regularly

  • Educating yourself and others about concussions


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