A person treating a concussion

Research shows that concussions are extremely serious and could be life threatening particularly for those who have suffered a concussion multiple times.

The signs and symptoms of a concussion may occur immediately or develop slowly over several hours. When attempting to treat someone with a suspected concussion it is important that you try to find out what has happened. Just because someone with an head injury may look fine, does not mean they are fine.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, caused when an individual receives trauma to the head. The trauma causes the brain to “shake” inside the scull which may not cause visible signs.


The brain is a soft organ cushioned by cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid protects the brain from everyday bumps. However, when an individual receives a high impact blow to the body or head (such as a car crash or sports impact), the cerebrospinal fluid cannot cushion the brain, causing the brain to shake forcefully.

Such an injury will affect the brains ability to function (commonly for a short period of time) and symptoms may develop immediately or shortly after.


The signs and symptoms of a concussion are not always visible and may be difficult to recognise. Symptoms may be delayed depending on the type of injury, typical symptoms include.

  • Altered conciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in ears
  • Temporary loss of conciousness
  • Feeling / sensation of pressure in the head
  • Amnesia
  • Delayed respons to questions

Some symptoms however may not appear immediately and may include

  • Concentration difficulty and memory complaints
  • Irritability
  • Sensitivity to light and noise


If someone has a suspected concussion and is unconscious call 000 immediately and commence CPR or DRSABCD.

Treatment for a concussion depends on the severity of the injury. If someone has a suspected concussion, it should be treated immediately by a medical professional.

The first thing you should do is asses the patient. If the patient is unconscious, lay them on their side in the recovery position call 000 and commence CPR. If the patient is conscious place them in a position that is comfortable. Ensure that you protect the neck from movement and maintain a clear airway.

You should then provide care and treat any additional wounds whilst constantly watching the patient until a medical professional or ambulance arrives. During this time you should monitor the patients breathing, pulse and consciousness for deterioration . It is also extremely important to maintain the patient’s body heat with clothing or a blanket.

Why you should update your CPR skills.

image of two hands performing cpr

Research shows a person's skills in CPR decrease by 50% after just two months if they haven't practised the skill. Update your CPR certificate now!

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