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What Your Doctor Wants You to Know About Concussions

One of the common reasons people come to the ER is for concussions. Any of a variety of things can cause a concussion. You may tumble off a ladder and hit your head. You may get an extra hard hit in sports and find your coach using phrases such as “bell rung” or “seeing stars”. Or you may experience whiplash during an accident. Whatever the cause, if your head and neck has been injured, you could be suffering from a concussion.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by an accident, a blow to the head, a back-and-forth motion of the head, a violent shaking, or other trauma. People involved in contact sports are at a higher risk for experiencing a concussion, but they can also commonly occur in everyday accidents or motor vehicle accidents.

What are the signs of a concussion?

“The signs of a concussion vary widely,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Ron Bryce. “You may not notice much at first, but over time, additional symptoms begin to show up.”

Some of the common symptoms associated with concussions can be:

  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness & feeling dazed
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Seeing stars
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness after the injury
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Drowsiness
  • Balance problems
  • Headaches & migraines
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Vision problems
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Irritability
  • Concentration problems
  • Personality change
  • Problems with taste and smell

“Any of these symptoms seem to indicate a concussion, so you need to come to Advance ER and let us check you out,” said Dr. Bryce. “It’s quite possible to not even know that you have a concussion.”

You should go immediately to the nearest Advance ER if you show any of the following serious symptoms:

  • Bleeding or clear fluid coming from the ears or nose
  • Abnormal eye movement
  • Seizures
  • Different-sized pupils of the eye
  • Lasting confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Sleeping and can’t be awakened, or difficult to awaken
  • Weakness
  • Problems walking
  • Repeated vomiting

When should I go to the ER for a concussion?

One of the most common myths is that if you don’t lose consciousness, it’s not a concussion. “Loss of consciousness is not a good gauge for concussion diagnosis,” said Dr. Bryce. “It’s really not something that can be self-diagnosed. Any time you suffer a blow to the head, a whiplash-type action or other injury to the head, you should come right in and let us take a look.”

How do you diagnose a concussion?

At Advance ER, we have the equipment needed to diagnose your concussion. MRI and EEG testing is available for serious concussions. If a spine and neck injury is suspected, your physician may also order on-site X-rays. You will also receive a careful physical exam to try to determine if you have a concussion.

What’s the treatment for concussions?

Treatment for concussions depends on how serious the symptoms are. If there is bleeding on the brain, your physician may recommend a surgical procedure. “Most concussions don’t need surgery or special medical treatments,” said Dr. Bryce. “Our physicians are all well experienced in dealing with concussions. We’ll check you out and create the treatment plan that’s right for you.”

“People who have experienced a concussion in the past must be vigilant about future concussions. Many complications can arise from repeated concussions, so be sure to be checked out if you’ve had another head trauma,” said Dr. Bryce.

Where is the nearest Advance ER?

When you need emergency care, it’s good to know that there are two convenient North Dallas locations close to work, sports and home.

Meet Dr. Ron Bryce:

Ron Bryce, M.D., is board-certified in family practice. Dr. Bryce received his medical degree from Oral Roberts University School of Medicine, Tulsa, OK. He completed his residency at John P. Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, TX.

Experienced with providing both emergency and routine care for patients of all ages, Dr. Bryce believes in keeping the lines of communication open with his patients and in treating them like family.