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Brain injury & concussion in adults

Whara roro me mātengatenga ki ngā pakeke

rugby player being tackled by opponentMost people recover quickly from minor head injuries, but a more serious head injury can cause a traumatic brain injury. When this happens, your brain is bruised, swollen or has damage to its small nerves and blood vessels.

If you have a traumatic brain injury, it can take a long time to recover. You may need to make some changes to your lifestyle during this recovery, and you might not be able to drive for a while. You may need ongoing rehabilitation for this type of injury.

Concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury and can have several different symptoms. You don't have to have been knocked out to have concussion – it can happen even if you remain conscious. It's usually caused by a sudden blow to your head or violent shaking of your head. It can also happen if the oxygen supply to your brain is cut off. For example, through strangulation or suffocation.

The links below give advice about how to look after yourself after a mild brain injury. They also tell you what to expect after a more serious brain injury or concussion.

If you still have symptoms of concussion a few weeks after the incident that caused your injury, you should see your general practice team.

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On the next page: Head injuries in children

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2022.


See also:

Community groups for communication difficulties

Conserving energy

Head injury first aid

Speech and communication difficulties

Tips for managing memory loss

Page reference: 429821

Review key: HIBRI-52920