What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a direct or indirect hit to your head or body.
Your brain sits inside your skull surrounded by fluid. When your head or body takes a hit, your brain shifts or shakes around inside the skull.
The impact damages your brain cells, causing chemical and cellular changes in the brain.
Concussion causes and risk factors
Concussions can happen from a direct hit to the head in contact sports, in a car crash, or during a hard fall. But they can also happen from an indirect hit that causes your head to jerk, like when you get whiplash.
Sports that increase an athlete's risk of head trauma include:
Younger athletes and females tend to take longer to get better from concussions. While sports concussions are common, people sustain concussions in all types of activities in daily life.
Concussion side effects and complications
Side effects of a concussion cause changes in how the brain functions, such as reduced reaction time. Other common symptoms are included in the next tab. This can increase your chance of getting another concussion if you return to play before seeking treatment.
No athlete should return to the game until all symptoms are gone and a doctor has cleared him or her to play.
Why choose UPMC for concussion treatment?
Every concussion is unique. There are six clinical types, based on concussion signs and symptoms.
This is why — when it comes to concussion treatment — there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model.
The experts at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program have been leading active, individualized concussion treatment in Pittsburgh since 2000.
Our team tailors active concussion recovery programs to meet each person's:
We treat athletes and non-athletes of all ages, via in-person and virtual appointments.
Make an appointment for concussion care
If you — or your coaches, parents, or athletic trainers — suspect you have a concussion, it's crucial that you:
- Stop playing your sport right away.
- See a health professional specially trained in concussion care.
To make an appointment or learn more about concussions, contact the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program at 412-432-3681.
Learn more about concussions
Learn how UPMC Sports Medicine is ReThinking Concussions or see the links below (links open a new browser window):
UPMC's HealthBeat Blog:
From our Health Library: