What Should I do If a Concussion Occurs?
People with a concussion need to be seen by a health care professional. If you think you or someone you know has a concussion, contact your health care professional. Your health care professional can refer you to a neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, or specialist in rehabilitation (such as a speech pathologist). Getting help soon after the injury by trained specialists may speed recovery.
Concussion in Sports and Recreation:
If a concussion occurs during sports- and recreation-related activities, implement the 4-step action plan.
Atheltes with a concussion should never return to sports or recreation activites the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.
What to Expect When You See a Health Care Professional
While most are seen in an emergency department or medical office, some people must stay in the hospital overnight. Your health care professional may do a scan of your brain (such as a CT scan) or other tests. Other tests, known as “neuropsychological” or “neurocognitive” tests, assess your learning and memory skills, your ability to pay attention or concentrate, and how quickly you can think and solve problems. These tests can help your health care professional identify the effects of a concussion. Even if the concussion doesn’t show up on these tests, you may still have a concussion.
Your health care professional will send you home with important instructions to follow. Be sure to follow all of your health care professional’s instructions carefully.
If you are taking medications—prescription, over-thecounter medicines, or “natural remedies”—or if you drink alcohol or take illicit drugs, tell your health care professional. Also, tell your health care professional if you are taking blood thinners (anticoagulant drugs), such as Coumadin and aspirin, because they can increase the chance of complications.
See Getting Better, for tips to help aid your recovery after a concussion.