Cluster headaches

How to manage a concussion

Fact Checked

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way the brain functions which is only temporary and the person experiences headaches and problems with concentration, coordination, balance and memory.

A concussion is usually brought about by a blow to the head and the upper body is strongly shaken, especially when playing sports such as football.

Symptoms of a concussion

A concussion is usually brought about by a blow to the head and the upper body is strongly shaken, especially when playing sports such as football.
  • Clumsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Confusion and feeling dazed
  • Problems with balance or dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Sluggishness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in personality

Types of concussion

  • Grade 1 – the symptoms can last less than 15 minutes without loss of consciousness.
  • Grade 2 – there is no loss of consciousness and symptoms last for more than 15 minutes.
  • Grade 3 – there is loss of consciousness for only a few seconds.


  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area to lessen the swelling on a minor injury. Avoid applying the pack directly on the skin to prevent frostbite. Wrap the ice pack with a towel before applying on the area for at least every 2-4 hours for 20-30 minutes.
  • Avoid applying pressure to any head trauma wound to prevent pushing bone splinters into the brain.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen. Avoid taking medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin to prevent bruising and making the bleeding worse.
  • If the victim is awake, keep asking questions to assess the degree of the injury and keep the victim awake.
  • Stay with the victim on the initial 24 hours. Do not leave him/her alone and check the physical and cognitive functions for any changes. If the victim wants to sleep, wake him/her up every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours and every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours and then hourly.
  • Avoid performing strenuous activities for days after the injury and avoid being stressed to give the brain time to rest and promote fast healing of the injury.
  • Avoid driving any vehicle until the condition is fully healed.
  • Take plenty of rest and avoid reading, watching TV, playing video games and other mental tasks.

If the symptoms still persist and continue to worsen within 7-10 days, seek medical help immediately.


  • Wear protective gear when playing sports and other recreational activities. Wear the appropriate protective gear while playing sports.
  • When riding a vehicle, always use the seat belt.
  • Block all stairways and install window guards to prevent small children from falling or slipping.
  • Perform exercises regularly to strengthen the muscles in the legs and improve balance.

More Information

The details posted on this page on concussions is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage head injuries including a concussion, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.

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