Here’s how to tell if you have a concussion

I sit here writing this thanks to some very self-applicable life experience in the context of head injuries. I’ve had my fair share of melon-whacks over the course of my life, especially playing the game of rugby, but sometimes, head injuries can occur when you least expect them to. I was just working in our chicken barn and smoked my head off of a low-hanging fan that had a large screw sticking out of the bottom of it, so needless to say, I’m writing this with a splitting headache and a solid hole in my scalp.

I experienced a noteworthy headache immediately after connecting with the fan, and so I started to wonder whether or not I have a concussion. I did some research to gain a better understanding of the most common signs and symptoms of a concussion, and because I believe a lot of us struggle to identify when a head injury is serious or not, I thought it would be beneficial to share this information via with you.

“A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination.

“Concussions are usually caused by a blow to the head. Violently shaking of the head and upper body also can cause concussions.

“Some concussions cause you to lose consciousness, but most do not.

“The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not show up immediately. Symptoms can last for days, weeks or even longer. Common symptoms after a concussive traumatic brain injury are headache, loss of memory (amnesia) and confusion. The amnesia usually involves forgetting the event that caused the concussion. Physical signs and symptoms of a concussion may include:

  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Blurry vision

“Other signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Dizziness or “seeing stars”

“A witness may observe these signs and symptoms in the concussed person:

  • Temporary loss of consciousness (though this doesn’t always occur)
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Dazed appearance
  • Forgetfulness, such as repeatedly asking the same question

“You may have some symptoms of concussions immediately, and some can occur for days after the injury, such as:

  • Concentration and memory complaints
  • Irritability and other personality changes
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Psychological adjustment problems and depression
  • Disorders of taste and smell,” the website states

If you or someone you know sustains a blow to the head and is exhibiting any of these symptoms, be sure to head to your nearest emergency department.

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