Head & Concussions

Get expert care for head trauma.

If you suffer a head injury and experience lingering pain, disorientation or other symptoms, you should seek treatment immediately. Our experts in concussion treatment and head trauma will quickly assess the situation and check your neurological functioning, balance and vision to determine the proper course of action.

Find Head Trauma Specialists

What is a concussion?

If you participate in contact sports, trauma can occur when a blow to the head causes your brain to hit the inside of your skull, leading to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion. Even if you're not an athlete, falling and striking your head on a solid object can also lead to a concussion.

Each year, nearly 4 million people experience a concussion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 5-10% of athletes will suffer a concussion during any given sports season. Severe TBI-related cases result in around 50,000 deaths each year. Gauging the severity of a head injury can be difficult, so it's critical to consult with a concussion specialist immediately.

What are symptoms of a concussion?

The most common symptoms of a concussion are headache, dizziness and confusion. Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Feeling sluggish or like you're in a fog
  • Light sensitivity
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating and following directions
  • Slurred speech or inability to communicate normally
  • A general sense of unease, as if your brain isn't working normally
  • Difficulty sleeping

In most cases, symptoms occur immediately, but they can also surface a few days after the injury. If you have any of these signs of a head injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Moderate and severe TBIs can cause significantly more pronounced symptoms like bleeding, drainage from the ears and nose, loss of consciousness, seizures and the symptoms usually associated with a concussion.

How can I prevent head trauma?

Athletes who play contact sports should always wear head protection since it distributes the force of a blow and reduces the severity of impact. You should also wear a helmet when cycling, rock climbing or participating in any activities where falling is possible, regardless of your age. A helmet won't prevent a concussion, but it can significantly reduce the chance of suffering a more severe TBI.

Why Choose Novant Health?

Our physicians and healthcare providers treat thousands of head injuries each year. We see cases every day, from mild to severe. Our expert clinicians are board-certified specialists who know how to assess your condition and provide the care you need.

When you come to Novant Health for a head injury, you can expect professional, compassionate care and you'll be an active participant in coming up with a treatment plan.

Doctor Looking At Patient Undergoing brain MRI procedure

If you suffer a head injury, you should seek medical treatment, even if you don't think the situation is serious. Novant Health offers a vast network of hospitals and care centers, so you can find a concussion specialist nearby. We'll give you a diagnosis and partner with you on your treatment options.

Novant Health Cardiologist, Dr. Michael, is using his stethoscope on a patient as they are lying down.

Our nationally recognized orthopedic specialists treat a variety of chronic conditions and injuries from head to toe. In addition to our remarkable concussion and head trauma care, Novant Health has physicians and therapists who focus on specialized orthopedic treatment in many areas.

Other orthopedic services include:

  • Hip, knee, elbow, shoulder, foot/ankle, hand/wrist and spine conditions
  • Bone health
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle strains, sprains and weakness
  • Joint replacement
  • Physical therapy
  • Sports rehabilitation
Novant Health Cardiologist, Dr. Michael, is using his stethoscope on a patient as they are lying down.

Male patient talking with a healthcare provider as they sit and prepare for an imaging scan.

What is a concussion protocol?

Concussion protocols are based on CDC recommendations and input from concussion and TBI specialists. While the term is typically associated with sports teams, the procedures Novant follows when treating head trauma are the same as those practiced by physicians responsible for the health of elite professional athletes.

A concussion protocol refers to the procedures and policies defined by a team or organization for treating and monitoring athletes who sustain concussions. While details vary, all concussion protocols provide a structured treatment plan.