Brain Injury Advice
Important Points about Mild Brain Injury
· You had a mild brain injury or what is sometimes called a concussion. Most people recover quickly following a mild brain injury/concussion. A few people may experience symptoms over a longer period.
· There is a small risk of you developing serious complications so you should be watched closely by another adult for 24 hours after the accident.
· Please read the following. It outlines what signs to look for after a brain injury and what you need to do if you have problems.
The First 4 Weeks After Injury
You may have some common effects from the brain injury/concussion which usually resolve in several weeks to three months. These are called post-concussion symptoms (see below). Tiredness can exaggerate the symptoms. Return to your normal activities gradually (not all at once) during the first weeks or months. You can help yourself get better by:
· Rest/Sleeping: Your brain needs time to recover. It is important to get adequate amounts of sleep as you may feel more tired than normal and you need to get adequate amounts of both physical and mental rest.
· Driving: Do not drive or operate machinery until you feel much better and can concentrate properly. Talk to your doctor.
· Drinking/Drugs: Do not drink alcohol or use recreational drugs until you are fully recovered. They will make you feel much worse. Do not take medication unless advised by your doctor.
· Work/Study: You may need to take time off work or study until you can concentrate better. Most people need a day or two off work but are back full-time in less than 2 weeks. How much time you need off work or study will depend on the type of job you do. See your doctor and let your employer or teachers know if you are having problems at work or with study. You may need to return to study or work gradually.
· Sport/Lifestyle: It is dangerous for the brain to be injured again if it has not recovered from the first injury. Talk to your doctor about the steps you need to take to gradually increase sports activity and return to play. If in doubt, sit out.
· Relationships: Sometimes your symptoms will affect your relationship with family and friends. You may suffer irritability and mood swings. See your doctor if you or your family are worried.
· You should start to feel better within a few days and be ‘back to normal’ within about 4 weeks. See your local doctor if you are not starting to feel better.
· Your doctor will monitor these symptoms and may refer you to a specialist if you do not improve over 4 weeks up to 3 months.
Information included on this advice card was adapted from the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW, Guidelines for MildTraumatic Brain Injury following Closed Head Injury (MAA NSW, 2008) and the Information about Mild Head Injury or Concussion booklet (Ponsford, Willmott, Nelms & Curran,