Discharge Instructions for Concussion

Discharge Instructions for Concussion

You have been diagnosed with a concussion, a type of brain injury caused by a sudden impact to your head. It can also be caused by sudden movement of your brain inside your head, such as from forceful shaking. Some concussions are mild, and most patients have a full recovery. Others are severe. Early care and monitoring are important to prevent long-term complications.

Home care

Do's and don'ts:

  • Ask a friend or family member to stay with you for a few days. You should not be alone until you know how the injury has affected you.
  • Tell your caregiver to wake you every 2 to 3 hours during the first night. Your caregiver should call 911 if he or she can't wake you, or if you are confused.
  • Don't take any medicine-not even aspirin-unless your healthcare provider says it's OK. If you have a headache, try placing a cold, damp cloth on your forehead.
  • Eat light. Clear liquids, such as broth or gelatin, are good choices.
  • Don't drink alcohol or use any recreational drugs.
  • Rest for 2 to 3 days; then slowly return to normal activities, such as school or work, if your healthcare provider allows. Avoid contact activities, such as football and hockey, until you are completely free of symptoms and your healthcare provider says it's OK.


Make a follow-up appointment.

When to seek medical attention

Your caregiver should call 911 right away if you have fallen asleep, cannot be awakened, or you are confused.

Otherwise, call your healthcare provider immediately if you have:

  • Vomiting
  • Clear or bloody drainage from your nose or ear
  • Constant drowsiness or trouble waking up
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble walking, talking, or concentrating
  • Increased weakness or problems with coordination
  • Constant headache that can't be relieved or gets worse
  • Changes in behavior or personality