What To Do If You Have A Concussion

Following a concussion injury, the first 24-48 hours are the most crucial, due to the potential for a more serious underlying injury that may require immediate medical attention such as a bleed or swelling in the brain. The patient should be closely watched for at least 3 hours following the injury by a responsible adult, to monitor for any deterioration in their condition, as this may indicate bleeding or serious swelling within the brain. Do not allow the injured patient to sleep for these initial 3 hours. The patient should be woken up every 2 hours throughout the first night, to ensure that they can be awoken and are aware of where they are.

Through our partnership with Complete Concussion Management™ we wish to keep everyone as safe as we can, so please take any and all precautions, especially when any of the following symptoms are present. These are signs of potentially serious or life-threatening conditions and require immediate medical attention at the nearest emergency department:

  • Severe or worsening headache
  • Very drowsy or can’t be woken up
  • Vomiting
  • Drug or alcohol intoxication at time of injury
  • Deficits in short-term memory (can’t remember things that just happened, repeating the same questions over and over)
  • Seizure
  • Decreasing level of consciousness or awareness (can’t recognize people or places)
  • Fluid or blood coming from ears, nose, mouth, or eyes
  • Bruising behind ears, black eyes, very tender points on face
  • Inability to remember events 30 minutes before and leading up to the injury or 30 minutes after the injury
  • Unsteady on their feet
  • Slurring of speech
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Dangerous mechanism of injury such as being struck by a motor vehicle, being ejected from a motor vehicle, or a fall from more than 3 feet or 5 stairs

It is important that concussed individuals receive a proper neurological evaluation as well as proper management advice as soon as possible following injury, as this has a significant impact on their recovery. Ideally the concussed individual will have an appointment booked with one of our Complete Concussion Management Inc. Clincians within the first 24-48 hours.

DO’s AND DONT’s for the first 24-48 hours

  1. DON’T give any medication! This may mask the signs of a worsening condition and may increase the risk of bleeding in the brain.
  2. Rest is important for recovery, however DON’T allow the athlete to go to sleep for at least 3 hours after injury – this is to monitor for signs of a worsening condition. The injured person will likely be tired and want to sleep but converse with them to make sure they are speaking coherently, not slurring their words and not repeating the same questions over and over.
  3. DO periodically stand them up and have them close their eyes with their feet together to check for signs of balance problems. If they are getting worse, take them to the emergency department for evaluation.
  4. For the first night following the injury, DO wake the injured athlete every 2 hours to check for responsiveness.  Make sure that they are easily awoken and that they know where they are.
  5. DO make an appointment for a full evaluation within 2-days of the injury. It is preferable that the appointment be made for the very next day.

This information is designed to provide education and awareness. This information does not take the place of a proper medical evaluation. Complete Concussion Management™ and Sports Centre Physiotherapy do not take any responsibility for injury or death if you choose not to report to a medical professional.