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Concussion Treatment

How to Treat a Concussion and Recognize More Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

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Updated October 06, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Unequal Pupils

Unequal pupils can be a sign of traumatic brain injury or an injury to one eye. It can be from a harmless condition called aniscoria, or it can be from an eye doctor appointment, like this is.

(c) Deborah Austin

Right now, there is no first aid treatment for concussions. Treatment is all about recognizing the signs and symptoms of concussion in order to prevent more severe injuries. Football players are to stay out of the game and soldiers off the front lines as long as necessary following a concussion.

More severe traumatic brain injuries may look exactly like concussions at first, followed by a period of time that the victim appears to be getting better -- sometimes referred to as talk and die syndrome. It sounds ominous, but it's rare. On the sidelines after a concussion, victims should be monitored for signs of more severe traumatic brain injuries:

  • unconscious (won't wake up)
  • seizures
  • getting more confused
  • slurred speech
  • severe headache that won't go away
  • feeling pressure in the head
  • unequal pupils (photo)

After getting a concussion (typically referred to as post concussion treatment), victims should be evaluated by a physician specially trained to care for concussion injuries, usually a neurologist. The physician will guide the victim on how to treat concussion symptoms, whether with over-the-counter medications for nausea and headache or by followup testing, such as CT or MRI scans.

Sources:

Guskiewicz, K.M., et al. "Research based recommendations on management of sport related concussion: summary of the National Athletic Trainers' Association position statement." Br J Sports Med. 2006 Jan; 40(1): 6–10.

Theye, Fred and Karla A. Mueller. "'Heads Up': Concussions in High School Sports." Clin Med Res. 2004 Aug; 2(3): 165–171.

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