Medical: Latin Commotio cerebri. A short paralysis of the brain as a result of a blow to the head.

The causes to unconsciousness following concussions aren't entirely known, but it is believed that especially the reticular system is sensitive to sudden movements. Essentially what happens is that the rapid movement of the head makes the brain hit the inside of the skull. Both the point of impact and the opposite side of the brain is usually affected, resulting in bruises called coup and contrecoup injuries, respectively.

Short-term effects are headaches and tiredness, apart from unconsciousness. Long-term effects such as permanent brain damage causing both physical and psychological defects, may also come as a result. It is not uncommon to treat severe concussions with medicines to prevent edema.

Recent research has also suggested that by artificially increasing the concentration of cerebrospinal fluid can have positive effect. Mannitol infusion evens out the electrical signals in the brain in a positive way, so that "spikes" in the electrical activity causing seizures do not appear. It also reduces the risk of swelling causing the brain the pressure against the skull, creating permanent brain damage. Usually, all effects of a concussion are reversible, and the brain soon returns to normal activity.

Source: Scientific American,

A quick way to diagnose the severity of concussions:

If a person is suspected to have a concussion, ask these types of questions, such as: What is your last name? What is your first name? How do you spell your name? Can you say the alphabet? What time is it? What is today's date? Do you know what happened to you?

Also, run one finger along the person's forearms, and ask him if he feels any tingling or any unusual sensations. Have him make a ring with his forefinger and thumb, and tell him not to let you break it. Try to break the ring. Ask him to follow your hand with his eyes without moving his or head.

To diagnose the severity of the concussion:

Grade 1: The lowest grade of concussion. The person is coherent, knows what happened, knows the date and time, can say the alphabet, etc. The person's pupils look normal, and he feels no unusual sensation upon being touched. Good musculoskeletal control remains, the person has good muscular resistance, as demonstrated in the finger ring test.

Grade 2: A more severe form of concussion that needs to be checked out by a doctor immediately. The person is confused, doesn't know what day it is, can't say the alphabet, has trouble saying/spelling his name, and has no idea what happened to him. His pupils are unequal in diameter or are dilated. Poor musculoskeletal resistance and unusual sensation. If any of these symptoms are present, ESPECIALLY the unusual pupils, the person needs to go to the emergency room immediately, as there may be swelling of the brain or bleeding in the cranium. Both of these can cause serious, life-threatening brain damage.

Grade 3: The most severe form of concussion, where the person is unconscious and cannot be roused within 4-5 minutes. The easiest to diagnose, and also the most dangerous, which can lead to a coma. Call an ambulance immediately, and do not move the person, as there may be spinal cord damage, especially if it is an athlete who had a collision with something/someone.

If the person has a Grade 1 concussion, simply have them ice the sore neck, but don't let them take any drugs such as aspirin, which is an anticoagulant, for at least 24 hours. Also, don't let the person go to sleep for at least 8 hours, and monitor them carefully for any behavior change, confusion, pupil change, etc. Wake the person up every 2 hours througout their sleep to check on them.

Grades 2 and 3 concussions will be taken care of by a doctor, who will have specific instructions.


Con*cus"sion (?), n. [L. concussio, fr. concutere, concussum, to shake violenty; con- + quatere to shake. See Cashier, Quash.]


A shaking or agitation; a shock; caused by the collision of two bodies.

It is believed that great ringing of bells, in populous cities, hath dissipated pestilent air; which may be from the concussion of the air. Bacon.

2. Med.

A condition of lowered functional activity, without visible structural change, produced in an organ by a shock, as by fall or blow; as, a concussion of the brain.

3. CivilLaw

The unlawful forcing of another by threats of violence to yield up something of value.

Then concussion, rapine, pilleries, Their catalogue of accusations fill. Daniel.

Concussion fuse Mil., one that is ignited by the concussion of the shell when it strikes.

Syn. -- See Shock.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.