A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a blow to the head
that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention estimates that about 300 000 sports-related brain injuries
occur in the United States each year. Concussions can also occur as the result
of head injury from a fall or during a vehicle crash. The November 19, 2003,
issue of JAMA includes 2 articles about concussions
in college football players.
Inability to remember what happened just before
and just after the head injury
Inability to carry out a simple set of instructions
Unsteadiness, loss of balance
An individual does not have to have lost consciousness to have a concussion.
In many cases, the symptoms of a mild concussion disappear within minutes.
If the concussion occurs while playing a sport, the player should be taken
out of play and should not be allowed to continue playing in the current game
or practice. New guidelines emphasize a stepwise, medically supervised "return
to play" strategy depending on the severity of the concussion.
Individuals who have a head injury may still have poor memory and concentration,
headache, fatigue, and dizziness for several weeks to months. This is known
as post-concussion syndrome. Players who return to
the game or practice before a concussion has completely resolved and then
sustain a second head injury are at risk for severe brain injury or even death.
Always make sure to wear properly fitting protective head gear when
playing a contact sport or while engaging in any other activity during which
a blow to the head can occur, including riding a bicycle or motorcycle, skateboarding,
or inline skating.
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control 770/488-1506http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and
To find this and other JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link
on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. A Patient Page on traumatic
brain injury was published in the June 11, 2003, issue.
Sources: American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of
Neurological Surgeons, American Neurological Association, National Center
for Injury Prevention and Control
The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate
in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For
specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied
noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share
with patients. Any other print or online reproduction is subject to AMA approval.
To purchase bulk reprints, call 718/946-7424.
Parmet S, Lynm C, Glass RM. Concussion in Sports. JAMA. 2003;290(19):2628. doi:10.1001/jama.290.19.2520