One concussion won’t cause long-term memory loss; not unless it’s a severe one. If it’s just a mild concussion, you may experience hazy memory in the short-term, but you’re as good as new once you brain recovers. You never forget your first girl, or your first concussion – until, perhaps, a later one damages the bit of your brain responsible for that memory. Why?
Concussions have a cumulative effect. If you suffer more impact to the head in the future, you run a higher risk of serious damage. Your brain is more fragile – it’ll take less of a blow to cause injury and healing takes a longer time. Also, just because you didn’t black out doesn’t mean you’re fine. Signs of concussion include dizziness, nausea, dilated pupils, or the loss of smell and taste. If you’ve got a persistent headache, get checked by a neurologist.
The Silent Injury
A bonk on the head – a tried and tested method – is just one way you can get a concussion. Being violently shaken or spun can also cause it. Despite the trauma, there’s often no evidence of injury because the damage is on the inside. “It’s known as the ‘silent injury,’” says Mark Lovell, Ph.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Sports Medicine Concussion Program.
CAT Scans May Not Pick Up The Damage
Just because your CAT scan is clean, it doesn’t mean you’re clear. Since concussion damage occurs at a cellular level, a CAT scan doesn’t pick up the changes, says Lovell. But the scan isn’t entirely useless, though – it’ll reveal any bleeding or swelling. You should also watch for signs of a life-threatening brain injury such as nausea or vomiting.
Any brain trauma can damage your neurons, the cells that govern the flow of chemical transmitters called neurotransmitters. It may be weeks before your neurons heal. Stay away from sports or activities that increase the risk of getting another knock on the head. If you’ve got headaches, take acetaminophen; do not use aspirin or ibuprofen, which may increase your risk of brain bleeding. Also, get plenty of sleep at night and ample rest in the day.