Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries and require prompt attention and individualized care to maximize recovery.

Physical therapist Mackenzie Gerau works with a patient who is recovering from a concussion.
Physical therapist Mackenzie Gerau works with a patient who is recovering from a concussion.

 

At University of Missouri Health Care, we have a comprehensive concussion care team that includes caring, experienced professionals who can ensure your concussion is properly evaluated and treated to avoid potential long-term effects of a head injury.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or other part of the body that sends an impulsive force to the head, resulting in a wide range of symptoms that may or may not include a loss of consciousness. Some concussion symptoms appear right away, while others might not be noticed for days or weeks after the injury.

Concussion symptoms

If you are experiencing any of the following concussion symptoms after a head injury, see your doctor within 24-48 hours.

  • Changes in behavior or mood
  • Changes in vision
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Memory difficulties
  • Sleep disturbances

If you experience more severe concussion symptoms, such as those listed below, go to the Emergency Department.

  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Inability to be woken up
  • Headache that doesn’t go away
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Unusual behavior or increased confusion
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Loss of consciousness

Concussion treatment

The key to properly treating concussion is early diagnosis and intervention. If you or a loved one might have suffered a concussion, it’s important to be evaluated by a health care provider soon after injury — even if you do not think you have symptoms.

The ideal treatment begins with an evaluation by a doctor within 24-48 hours of the injury. Your provider will complete a comprehensive evaluation and refer you to the proper specialist or therapist for further treatment.

Concussion recovery

For the first 24-48 hours after a concussion, you should rest. After that, you should return to normal activities gradually and with supervision of your provider or therapist. Research shows that an active recovery process is superior to a prolonged period of rest.

Support for recovery

If you are a caregiver, friend or peer, the best thing you can do is educate yourself on the condition so you can provide support during the recovery process. Concussions can be a difficult injury not only physically, but emotionally as well. If you have questions, please call 573-882-7350 (for ages 11 and younger) or 573-884-2642 (for ages 12 and older).

Concussion treatment team

At MU Health Care, we have a comprehensive concussion care team that includes providers from several areas:

  • Mizzou Therapy Services. This includes occupational, physical and speech therapists.
  • Neuropsychology. Our neuropsychologists can help adults and children understand and manage how your concussion affects their behavior. Learn more.
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation. This includes outpatient medical treatment and management of concussion recovery.
  • Sports medicine. These physicians often provide early assessment and diagnosis of concussions suffered during sports. Learn about our Sports Concussion Clinic.