Concussion Education

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Preventing and safely managing concussions starts with education. Houston Methodist partners with communities, schools and families to help inform them about concussion risks, diagnosis and treatment options. 

The Houston Methodist Concussion Center partners with Houston Methodist Athletic Training Services, one of the largest athletic training outreach programs in the country. Our concussion specialists and athletic trainers provide free on-site education to equip schools and club teams with information to recognize and quickly respond to the signs of concussion. 

Our team works with school administrators, athletic trainers, coaches and teachers to develop Return to Learn and Return to Sports protocols using the latest scientific evidence-based research.

Concussion Prevention and Recovery

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body that in turn causes a metabolic disturbance of brain functioning. Any force that is transmitted to the head causes the brain to literally move or twist within the skull, potentially resulting in a concussion. It is a multisystem injury that affects the brain, cervical spine, vestibular, ocular motor and autonomic nervous systems. It can cause blood flow changes, biochemical changes, structural changes, inflammation, neuronal injury, endocrine changes and an emotional disturbance.

What should I know about concussions?

A concussion is primarily an injury that interferes with how the brain works. It appears to be a very complex injury affecting both the structure and function of the brain. The sudden movement of the brain causes stretching and tearing of brain cells, damaging the cells and creating chemical and blood flow changes in the brain. While there can be damage to brain cells, the damage is at a microscopic level and cannot be seen on standard brain MRI or CT scans.

When should I seek immediate medical care for a concussion?

Look for the following danger signs:


  • Headaches that intensify
  • Seizures
  • Neck pain or unable to turn head
  • Unusual behavior change
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Unable to recognize people and places
  • Increasing confusion
  • Weakness or numbness in arms or leg
  • Less responsive than usual
  • Uneven pupils
  • Unable to stand or balance when walking
  • Discoloration behind ears
  • Fluid discharge from ears of nose

What are common signs & symptoms of a concussion?

It is common to have one or many of the following concussion symptoms:



  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Visual problems
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to light or noise




  • Feeling “foggy”
  • Feeling “slowed down”
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Difficulty concentrating




  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Nervousness




  • Drowsiness
  • Sleeping less
  • Sleeping more
  • Trouble falling asleep

How do I prevent a concussion?

Neck strengthening is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent concussion and neck injuries. Strong neck muscles help absorb the impact of blows to the head and can decrease the risk of concussion. Download our guide to neck strengthening exercises

Other concussion prevention tips include:


  • Always wear seatbelts in the car and buckle children in safety seats.
  • Wear a helmet that fits when biking, riding a motorcycle, skating, skiing, horseback riding or playing contact sports. A helmet should be secure and not move when you shake your head, but not be uncomfortably tight.
  • Wear a mouthpiece or chin strap for football.
  • Prevent falls on stairs by putting up handrails.
  • Install safety gates on stairs to protect young children.
  • Put grab bars in the bathroom, with nonslip mats in the tub and on floors.
  • Improve lighting and remove trip hazards.
  • Install safety guards by windows to keep children from falling out.


There are recommended guidelines for athletes and coaches. These include:


  • Using the proper sports and personal protective equipment. Equipment must be:
    • The right equipment for the game or activity
    • Worn correctly and be the correct size and fit
    • Used every time you play or practice
    • In good condition
  • Insisting that players follow the rules of the game and always display good sportsmanship

How long do concussion symptoms last?

Every concussion recovery plan involves mental and physical rest and a gradual return to activity. Your brain needs time to heal, and most symptoms resolve within 14 to 21 days. There is no cure for a concussion, but you can take medications to help with symptoms such as headache or nausea. 

The first step in recovering from a concussion is rest. Rest is defined as symptom-limited activity at home; it is not lying in a dark room with no stimulation. Too much rest is found to prolong concussion recovery. As concussion symptoms lessen, usually within 48-72 hours, you can gradually increase your physical and cognitive activity if your symptoms do not worsen. 

Concussion Treatment Options

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Our concussion experts provide thoughtful care for your specific injury so you can return safely to your favorite activities or sports. 

Concussion Education en Espanol

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Find information to prevent and recover from concussions.

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