A Prompt and Accurate Diagnosis is Critical

A concussion is a mild brain injury! The effects of a mild brain injury can be anything but mild, especially if the person does not receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment by professionals who have training and experience with mild brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define concussion as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden force/movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist inside the skull, causing stretching and tearing of the microscopic brain cells called neurons (also called axonal shearing), and by creating chemical and metabolic changes in the brain.

The axonal shearing or changes in brain metabolism will not show up on a CT scan or MRI scan, because they occur at the microscopic level, and those tests do not magnify, but rather only reveal cross sections of the brain that can be seen by our regular eyes. Those tests are used to identify brain hemorrhages or skull fracture, which are signs of a more moderate/severe brain injury, and which could be life threatening if untreated.

A concussion is generally referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury or mTBI. There may be signs of injury to the head, such as bruising or cuts, or there may be no visible external injury. A person does not necessarily have to pass out, or lose consciousness to have sustained a mild brain injury.

Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” traumatic brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, all brain injuries – including concussions – should be taken seriously.

Key Points to Remember about Concussions:

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