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Diagnosis of Concussion

The signs and symptoms of concussion vary, but any change in an athlete’s behavior should be recognized as an indication of altered neurologic functioning. Typical features of concussion are headache, disorientation, blank stare, slurred speech, delayed verbal responses to questions, slow and uncoordinated motor function, dizziness, emotional lability, and short-term memory deficits; any head trauma associated with a loss of consciousness is a concussion.

Recent studies have documented the prevalence of various signs and symptoms of concussion. The most common symptoms of concussion in NFL players were headaches (55%),dizziness (42%), and blurred vision (16%).

The most common signs of concussion found on physical examination in these players were problems with immediate recall, retrograde amnesia, and information-processing problems. Loss of consciousness occurred in 9% of players, and hospitalization was required in 2.4% of cases.

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