Concussion (mild, traumatic brain injury) is a closed head injury due to a direct blow to the head or deceleration of the head from an impulsive force, resulting in a transient change in mental status.
Most common causes are motor vehicle accidents, sports, assaults, and falls.
Diagnosing concussion is difficult based on acute injury characteristics and presenting signs and symptoms.
Headache, mental slowing and fogginess, and memory difficulties are typical symptoms. Symptoms may fluctuate, but typically subside after 1 week to 1 month. Loss of consciousness is not necessary for a positive diagnosis.
Computed tomography scan and magnetic resonance imaging are typically normal in concussive injury.
For uncomplicated cases, physical and cognitive rest is usually sufficient.
Concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) is a closed head injury due to a direct blow to the head or deceleration of the head from an impulsive force that results in a change in mental status. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: HEADSUP external link opens in a new window
History and exam
Luke C. Henry, PhD
Department of Neurological Surgery
Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist
University of Pittsburgh
LCH declares that he has no competing interests.
Maria Twichell, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor
General Rehabilitation Unit
UPMC Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
MT declares that she has no competing interests.
Dr Luke C. Henry and Dr Maria Twichell would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Jeffrey Bazarian and Dr Maryse Lassonde, previous contributors to this topic. JB has been reimbursed by Roche, the manufacturer of an automated assay for serum S-100B, to attend a conference, and has been reimbursed by Banyan Biomarkers and Neuren Pharmaceuticals to help develop their research protocols. JB is also an author of a reference cited in this topic. ML is an author of several references cited in this topic.
Eirik Helseth, MD, PhD
Professor and Consultant
Department of Neurosurgery
Ulleval University Hospital
EH declares that he has no competing interests.
Margot Putukian, MD
Director of Athletic Medicine
MP is an author of a reference cited in this topic.
Use of this content is subject to our disclaimer