How to spot a concussion – and what to do next

By Vickie Donaldson, DPT, MPT  |  10/12/2017

It's that time of year again — football season — and we are hearing more about concussions. However, the truth is concussions are not exclusive to football or contact sports. They can happen to "anyone, at any time, anywhere," as reported by the Brain Injury Association. In fact, you don't even have to hit your head to sustain a concussion.

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a traumatic brain injury as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, body or penetrating head injury. Concussions can cause a variety of symptoms, including but not limited to dizziness, headaches, sleep disruption, cognitive changes, nausea, vomiting and more. Symptoms can occur right away or days or weeks after the concussion.

Recovery from concussions can vary, and while most people recover fully from mild injuries, others can take longer to heal. Also, recovery times in older people are generally slower. People who have suffered a concussion are also susceptible to having another.

Many types of physicians and therapists may be necessary in post-concussion care, such as those from the emergency room, neurology, sports medicine, vestibular therapy, physical therapy and more. It is important to note each patient's care needs to be unique and tailored to the individual because no two concussions present the same. Healthy awareness of symptoms and obtaining the proper medical treatment promotes optimal rehabilitation. 

To learn more, please attend Putnam Hospital Center's Concussion Presentation from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 21, in the Michael T. Weber Auditorium. Please RSVP by calling 845-279-5711, ext. 2474 (TTY 1-800-421-1220).