A concussion is an injury to the brain. It happens when the brain shakes rapidly in the skull. Concussions can happen after hitting your head, being in a car crash, or getting a sporting injury, even if your head wasn’t hit directly.

The most common symptom is a headache. Despite the common myth, blacking out after a concussion isn't common. Many people do experience dizziness and balance problems, nausea and vomiting, confusion, concentration and memory problems, feeling foggy or sluggish, sensitivity to light or noise and sleeping problems

There is no one test that can diagnose a concussion. The diagnosis depends on the history of injury, physical exam, strength, balance, and memory. Most concussions do not require any imaging or x-rays, but occasionally a more serious condition may need to be ruled out.

Symptoms usually go away in three to 10 days; however, every case is different. Recovery can take longer for children, those with a history of headache, mental illness, or those who have had a prior head injury.

Mental and physical rest is imperative to heal. There should be no vigorous exercise or heavy lifting until you are cleared for activities. Mental rest means avoiding things that require a lot of focus, like playing video games, text messaging, and watching television. Some need time away from sports, school and work. While most people experience a short recovery, there are some who have lingering symptoms of concussion.

While a concussion cannot be cured with medication, there are some over-the-counter pain medicine to help relieve symptoms like headaches, yet some medicines aren't safe to take.

Student athletes with a concussion need to be cleared by a medical professional before returning to high school sports, per Colorado law.

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