What is a concussion?

A concussion, or mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) as it is referred to in classical medical terminology, is defined by Kelly in 1991 as a “traumatically induced alteration in mental status, not necessarily with loss of consciousness…a common form of sports-related injury.” Kelly went on to add that that it is “…too often dismissed as trivial by physicians, athletic trainers, coaches, sports reporters, and athletes themselves.” It was only after the Sports Illustrated November 2010 cover story broke that the sports world realized the significance of his comment.

As a result of the signature injury of Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq conflicts, the Department of Defense redefined the diagnostic criteria for mTBI: “A diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) should be made when there is an injury to the head as a result of blunt trauma, acceleration or deceleration forces or exposure to blast that result in one or more of the following conditions:

  1. Any period of observed or self-reported:
    1. Transient confusion, disorientation, or impaired consciousness
    2. Dysfunction of memory immediately before or after the time of injury
    3. Loss of consciousness lasting less than 30 minutes
  2. Observed signs of neurological or neuropsychological dysfunction, such as:
    1. Headache, dizziness, irritability, fatigue or poor concentration, when identified soon after injury, can be used to support the diagnosis of mild TBI, but cannot be used to make the diagnosis in the absence of loss of consciousness or altered consciousness.”

Why are concussions a problem?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability for America’s youth, and plagues athletes, active military, veterans, elderly, and victims of domestic violence. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between one million and four million new brain injuries occur every year in America due to trauma in sports and recreational activities. More than 767,000 American youth visit the emergency room (ED) because of traumatic brain injuries each year. Of those, over 80,000 are hospitalized and more than 11,000 die. From 2001 to 2009, the rate of ED visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or mTBI, alone or in combination with other injuries, rose 57% among children (age 19 or younger). Additionally, NCAA figures cite that from 2004 to 2009, 29,225 athletes suffered concussions – including 16,000 in football, 5,751 in women’s soccer and 3,374 in men’s soccer. It is generally accepted that these statistics may be lower than the actual incidence due to the phenomenon of “under-reporting” in athletics, as suggested by Kelly and supported by Conquering Concussions and CACTIS Foundation’s experience.

There are local, regional, national and global unmet needs for addressing the growing health care crisis of sports and other causes of concussions. With comprehensive multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment outcomes for concussion patients can be improved.


What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?

Please click here refer to the CDC website for information on signs and symptoms of a concussion:


CDC Fact Sheets


How can I get baseline tested?

Contact Conquering Concussions to learn more about baseline testing and for inquiries about programs on your area.

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