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Concussion is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces. Several common features that incorporate clinical, pathologic and biomechanical injury constructs that may be utilized in defining the nature of a concussive head injury include:

  1. Concussion may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an “impulsive” force transmitted to the head.
  2. Concussion typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurologic function that resolves spontaneously.
  3. Concussion may result in neuropathological changes but the acute clinical symptoms largely reflect a functional disturbance rather than a structural injury.
  4. Concussion results in a graded set of clinical symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Resolution of the clinical and cognitive symptoms typically follows a sequential course however it is important to note that in a small percentage of cases however, postconcussive symptoms may be prolonged.
  5. No abnormality on standard structural neuroimaging studies is seen in isolated concussion.



Definition