Concussion Care

Helping to Recognize and Prevent Concussions

CentraCare is dedicated to improving the recognition, diagnosis and management of concussions for people of all ages living in Central Minnesota. We work with local medical providers, academic institutions, athletics, community partners, and patient advocates who are committed to improving the standard of care for concussions.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. A concussion is often caused by a fall, bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. A concussion can be caused by a shaking, spinning for a sudden stopping and starting of the head. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.

A concussion can happen even if you haven't been knocked out. Concussions can happen to anyone in any setting where there is a risk of trauma to the head, or violent shaking of the head or upper body.

One of the difficulties for those experiencing one is that you can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussions can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. An individual who may have had a concussion should not return to activity on the day of the injury and not until a health care professional says they are okay to return to activity at recommended levels.

If a concussion is suspected, what should someone do?

If an individual reports or displays one or more symptoms of a concussion after receiving a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body, h/she should be immediately removed from activity (this includes but is not limited to, work, athletics and exercise, driving, and so forth.) The individual should only return to activity with the permission of a health care professional experienced in evaluating concussions. Rest is key during recovery. Exercising or activities that require a lot of concentration (studying, working, meetings, etc.) may cause concussion symptoms to reappear or get worse.

Students who return to school after a concussion may need to spend fewer hours at school, take rest breaks, be given extra help and time, and spend less time reading, writing or on a computer or tablet. After a concussion, returning to sports at school is a gradual process and should be monitored by a health care professional.

Concussions affect each individual differently. Some may recover quickly and fully while others may have symptoms that last for days, weeks or even months.

The critical point to understand is that concussions are an injury, and like any injury, can be managed and treated to resolution, getting you back to your life.

Understanding Concussions

Did you know that the following could result in a concussion?

  • Slips and falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents/whiplash
  • Sports injuries
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Physical abuse/assault
  • Blast injuries (veterans and immigrants)
  • Accidental bumps to the head

Know the Symptoms of a Concussion

Symptoms Reported

  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Does not “feel right”

Signs Observed

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about work processes
  • Forgets instructions
  • Is unsure of surroundings
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can’t recall events after hit or fall

Lower the Risk of Concussions

Factors that may increase your risk of a concussion include, but are in no manner limited to:

  • Participating in a high-risk sport, such as football, hockey, soccer, rugby, boxing or other contact sport; the risk is further increased if there’s a lack of proper safety equipment and supervision
  • Being involved in a motor vehicle collision
  • Being involved in a pedestrian or bicycle accident
  • Being a soldier involved in combat
  • Being a victim of physical abuse
  • Falling, especially in young children and older adults
  • Having had a previous concussion

For more information about our concussion care services, speak with your primary care physician, or email our Neurosciences team.