Concussion evaluations are available for all eligible Northwestern University students. A concussion evaluation with one of our staff physicians will include both cognitive and physical assessments. One or multiple follow up visits may be recommended depending on concussion severity. In-person and/or at home rehabilitation exercises with our concussion care coordinator, Matt Nerrie, may also be recommended.
If you sustain a head injury and are worried you may have a concussion, please call Student Health Services (847-491-8100) during regular business hours for a same-day appointment. It is recommended to be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible to ensure timely communication with the University’s deans and professors should academic accommodations be necessary during the recovery process.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a complex brain injury which may result from a blow to the head or body. Concussions can change the way the brain normally operates and present differently in each individual. Symptoms vary from person to person, and from concussion to concussion. Concussions improve and resolve over time. Prompt and accurate reporting of a concussion is critical, and is associated with faster recovery, faster return to sport and school, and fewer long-term adverse effects.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?A concussion may cause multiple symptoms, which may vary from person to person. Many symptoms appear immediately after the injury or over time following the injury. The symptoms may be subtle and are often difficult to fully recognize. It is not unusual for symptoms to worsen with physical and/or mental activity. Some common symptoms include:
- Dizziness and Balance Problems
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Feeling Slowed Down or Mentally Foggy
- Sleep Disturbances
- Sensitivity to Light and Noise
Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following:
- Persistent vomiting
- Increasingly severe headaches
- Numbness or tingling
- Loss of muscle strength
- Unequal pupils
How long will my symptoms last?
Concussive symptoms improve, on average, over the course of 7 to 10 days after the initial injury. In some cases, symptoms may last for several weeks or even months. Prompt and accurate reporting of concussion is critical, and is associated with faster recovery, faster return to sport and school, and fewer long-term adverse effects.
How do I care for my concussion?Early Reporting:
- Schedule an appointment with a physician as soon as you suspect a concussion
- Be honest about your symptoms with your physician and care team
- Limit screen time on phone, laptop, television, etc.
- Extra sleep
- Symptom-limited physical activity as directed by your physician and care team
- Limited mental activity as directed by your physician and care team
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headaches if needed (maximum 3,000mg per day)
- Only take other medications as prescribed or recommended by your physician