ZocdocAnswersCan mild concussions cause permanent neurological damage?

Question

Can mild concussions cause permanent neurological damage?

I have over my teenage years sustained 3 mild concussions, in which two were resulted from sports and one from an accident of tripping while running uncautiously at night. The only significant symptom I received from all three injuries was slight nausea which persisted for no more than 25 minutes, but minor drowsiness and lack of concentration also occured on the following day of each accident, resolving around 3 days later. The severity of my injuries seems minimal, but I still wonder if any permanent damage could be done since the number of my accidents exceed one.

Answer

Thanks for your question. I recommend that you discuss your concern with your doctor. Historically, these mild concussions were considered self limited and thought to not lead to long term complications. As we are finding out more and more, however, these injuries can lead to long term complications if they are done in a repetitive fashion. Many professional American football players have been found to have some complications that are thought to be due, at least in part, to repeated head trauma. Many organizations are working to help decrease the amount of trauma that the brain takes in these activities for that reason. Obviously, that sort of information is accumulated on patients who have had repeated trauma over years or decades, which is quite a bit different than what you appear to be describing. Whether or not that information is even applicable to people who suffer relatively isolated injuries is unclear, although people are certainly working to understand this better. For the time being, it is important to work to limit the number of brain trauma events that you have, and avoid things that may lead to problems in the future. For more specific information and to answer your question more fully, please speak with your doctor about this question.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.