Understanding Concussion

A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can be caused by any blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body which causes a sudden jarring of the head. Concussion can occur with or without loss of consciousness and can result in many other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, reduced attention and concentration, memory problems and headaches.

There is variation among medical professionals on how to define, diagnose, or treat concussion. Doctors recommend one week’s rest following a concussion, however, there is very little hard evidence to suggest that this is adequate. If an athlete were to suffer from a knee injury, they may be forced to stop playing for several months – unfortunately, if something were to happen to the brain, there is currently no clear, objective way to determine when it will be safe to return to play.

Currently, little is known about the long-term effects of concussive impacts on the brain. Links between head injury and dementia in sport are just beginning to be explored in more detail. The signs and symptoms of a concussion often last for 7-10 days in adults but can last much longer; players may take many weeks or months to recover. As more is understood about the long-term effects of concussion, it is important that a cautious approach is taken to the safety and wellbeing of players.

Current sporting guidelines are based on the best available evidence, but it is well known within the sporting and clinical community that there is much work to be done to improve the evidence base. The Drake Foundation is committed to investing in new, scientifically-significant studies to address this issue.

Latest research

Current sponsored research by The Drake Foundation can be found on our Research Activities page.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research news in brain injury at our partner site Neurology Central. Register for free to see all concussion content, supported by The Drake Foundation.