So you’ve hit your head pretty hard.  Provided that you’re not unconscious, in which case you NEED to go to the hospital or a doctor’s office right away and get checked out without question, you’re not going to feel so hot.  Your head’s going to hurt.  Maybe you saw stars or what seemed like an explosion of light in pure black darkness when you hit your head.  Are you dizzy?  Nauseous?  Vomiting?  Confused?  These are all signs that you need to go see a doctor as soon as possible!  Now, if none of those things are going on and you just feel like crap with a headache, or sore neck muscles or pain in your cervical (neck) spine bones, don’t go to sleep right away.  Sleepiness is a sign of concussion, too.  You’re going to want to get a lot of sleep, but not until later.  I’ll explain.  There is a chance that, if you have a really bad concussion and go to sleep right away, you’ll fall into a coma.  We don’t want that.  We want you to remain conscious for a while until we figure out what’s going on with you.  If you end up going to the hospital or the doctor, they’ll do some tests to determine if you have a concussion and how bad it is.  They might prescribe you some painkillers.  If you end up getting those, don’t overdo it!  They tend to be pretty strong!  Now, after we’ve established that you’re okay to sleep, you need to take lots of naps to help your mushed brain heal up.

A concussion is a brain bruise, caused by your brain getting bounced rather hard against the inside of your skull by a blow to the head or a sudden snapping motion, which can happen in car accidents and climbing accidents alike.  Your brain needs to heal!  Naps are going to help with that, and since you’re not going to feel real good, anyway, it’s the perfect time to take some naps…  The really important thing is that you DON’T HIT YOUR HEAD AGAIN UNTIL YOUR BRAIN IS HEALED!!!  The reason this is so important is because you can cause permanent and severe brain damage if you hit your head again while your brain is trying to recover from a concussion!!!  Avoid activities and/or situations where you could possibly sustain another concussion for a little while so that your brain can repair itself!!!  That means, unfortunately, no climbing for a few days, or only very controlled roped climbing with a helmet, if you must.  Be careful with your brain!  It’s important!!!  I hit my head on Thursday and took four days off.  I may or may not climb today.  My neck muscles have finally stopped hurting and I no longer have headaches.  You’d better believe I’m going to be doing some careful climbing, and probably roped climbing only for another few days until I’m sure things are okay and healed up fairly well.  If you’re questioning how long you should wait, I’d look up what the concussion guidelines are online or call your doctor if you haven’t received instruction on that.

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