Concussion – Patient Education and Resources

Tips and information on concussion symptoms, concussion recovery and more from the Concussion care team.

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Concussion facts

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild brain injury. It is one of the most common injuries after a fall, crash or blow to the head.

What causes a concussion?

Many concussions are caused by:

  • Falls
  • Car crashes
  • Being struck on the head
  • Sports and recreational injuries

 Three things to know about concussions

  • Concussions can be hard to diagnose and treat.
  • If a concussion isn’t properly diagnosed and treated, it may  lead to life-long physical, cognitive (thinking) and psychological effects.
  • Proper management is key to safe return to sports, school, work and other activities.

Get the Stats on Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States

Concussion signs and symptoms

Symptoms of concussion can be mild or severe. They usually fall into four categories:

Thinking/remembering (cognitive)

  • Feeling slowed down
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble thinking clearly
  • Trouble remembering new information

Physical 

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on)
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Feeling tired, having no energy
  • Fuzzy or blurry vision
  • Dizziness or balance problems

Emotional/mood (Behavioral)

Feeling:

  • Sad
  • Irritable
  • Overly emotional
  • Nervous or anxious

Sleep

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep

Tips for recovery

Relative Rest

"Relative Rest" is very important after a concussion. It helps the brain heal. Ignoring your symptoms and trying to "tough it out" often makes symptoms worse, and may prolong recovery time.  

Healing takes time, so be patient. Your doctor will help you decide when you should return to work, school or other activities. If your symptoms come back or you notice new symptoms as you become more active, this is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard.  

As the days go by, most people gradually begin to feel better.

Tips to help you get better:

  • Get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day.
  • Avoid activities that are physically demanding (e.g., sports, working-out) or require a lot of concentration (e.g., sustained computer use, video games).
  • Ask your doctor when you can begin to safely return to your usual activities.

Returning to regular activity

After you’ve had a concussion, you may have a higher chance of having another concussion. In Your recovery phase should include  being symptom-free:

  • At rest
  • With full cognitive activities (such as school and work)
  • With full physical activities (such as sports, working and driving)

Resources for parents

As a parent, you play a big role in your child’s recovery from a concussion. You can best watch your child symptoms. Tell your child’s doctor about any changes. See the links below for more details.

My Penn State Hershey Health

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center offers patients the ability to connect with their doctor online by using a secure website called My Penn State Hershey Health. This online tool allows you to:

  • Manage upcoming appointments
  • Check test and lab results
  • Communicate with your doctor through secure messaging
  • View or print health related documents from home

You can sign up for our online patient portal during an appointment by providing an email address, and our staff will send you an invitation. Any child age 14 to 17 will need to be present and give their written consent for parents to view their health records, and patients over the age of 18 must manage their own account.

Contact us

Phone717-531-6824
Fax: 717-531-3784
Academic Office717-531-6403