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Identifying and Treating Concussion/mTBI in Service Members and Veterans

A Course for Civilian Health Care Providers from BrainLineMilitary.org

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Prognosis

The overall prognosis for patients with concussions is good. With minimal intervention and a proper diagnosis, a large majority of patients who sustained a single concussion/mTBI will recover within hours or days with no lasting ill effects. Generally 85-90% of individuals with concussion/mTBI recover within a 30-day window from the time of injury. A minority of patients experience longer-lasting signs and symptoms of concussion/mTBI. Failure to diagnose and treat concussion/mTBI may explain why signs and symptoms persist in some cases. But a complex mix of physical, genetic, and psychosocial factors may account for other cases of slower recovery.

Concussion/mTBI is a complex injury to a complex system, and that’s why patients with similar injuries may have different symptoms and different courses of recovery.

 

Watch this short video with Dr. Michael McCrea of the ProHealth Care Neuroscience Center and Research Institute

VIDEO: Why Do Some Recover Faster?

Why Do Some Recover Faster?

Learn more about the relationship between symptom reporting and ultimate recovery.

One Soldier's Story

A minority of concussion/mTBI patients report symptoms lasting a month or longer, and it's these patients you're most likely to be seeing in civilian practice. Read this account of one soldier's more complicated recovery:

A Flashlight Out of the Dark

"I found that connecting with others who 'got it' was my way to flip the switch, my way to get my hands on the flashlight — my flashlight out of that dark space."

The treatment of longer-lasting effects of concussion is described in the next section.



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