A mild concussion or mild traumatic brain injury are commonly caused by direct trauma to the head. Concussions are categorized in five grades that are assigned in order to determine the severity of a particular concussion. A grade 1 concussion is the least severe while a grade 5 is a serious case. It is important to note that grade 1-2 concussions are considered mild cases but must still be checked by the doctor.
Steps when identifying the symptoms of a mild concussion
- If you suspect that an individual sustained a concussion, you have to initially ask the individual if he/she is experiencing ringing in the ears or dizziness. Always remember that once these are present, it clearly indicates a mild concussion and these symptoms typically progress into a lasting headache.
- Try to speak to the individual. If he/she responds with a slurred speech, it can indicate that he/she has sustained a concussion. Take note that difficulty speaking is used to identify whether or not an individual has sustained an injury to the head that would require emergency care.
- You have to determine if the individual is disoriented or confused. Confusion is considered as a characteristic symptom of a Grade I concussion and the only symptom that is noticeable.
- Check if the individual is suffering from anterograde amnesia. This is a condition in which the individual could not remember the events that occurred after the head injury was sustained but can remember the events that led up to it. Anterograde amnesia typically lasts for only a few minutes if the concussion is a mild one. If it lasts longer, it indicates a serious injury.
- Identify the symptoms of a severe concussion. If the individual develops mood disorders, sleep dysfunctions, difficulty thinking or remembering and easily irritated by bright lights or loud noises, this indicates a Grade III concussion or higher. Take note that these symptoms will not manifest until a few days after the injury was sustained.
It is best to call for emergency assistance if the individual sustained an injury to the head that results to loss of consciousness that last longer than a couple of minutes. You have to stabilize the individual until the medical team arrives by preventing him/her from moving the head or neck.
Important tips to bear in mind
If the victim of a head injury is a child, it is important to have the injury assessed by a doctor even if it does not appear severe.
In case an individual suffered a concussion and stays unconscious for more than 5 minutes and suffers from retrograde amnesia (unable to remember events that occurred before the injury was sustained), it is considered as a serious case.
Always remember that it is important to seek immediate medical care for all cases of concussions, especially for the serious cases.