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Q: What are the signs of a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that affects brain function. Effects are usually temporary, but can include headaches, problems with concentration, speech slurring, memory loss, balance issues, lack of coordination, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and confusion.

Concussions are caused by a blow to the head, with falls as the most common cause of a concussion. Concussions are also common in certain contact sports, such as football or soccer. Most people usually recover fully after a concussion, but a medical evaluation is highly recommended.

At Maui Memorial Medical Center (MMMC), some of the most common trauma-related injuries we see in our Emergency Department are from “standing height falls” which unfortunately occur often with our kupuna. In addition to a concussion, many of these falls result in other serious traumatic injuries. Fortunately, the MMMC Trauma Team is trained and ready to care for the victims of traumatic brain injuries, including concussions.

Starting June 1, 2021, the trauma program at MMMC will be expanding its services to include a dedicated trauma surgery group that will be available 24/7. This is part of Maui Health’s path to becoming an American College of Surgeons (ACS) Verified Level II Trauma Center. As the only acute care hospital on Maui, it is vital that Maui Health provides the highest level of trauma care for our residents and visitors. In addition to traumatic brain injuries, the MMMC trauma team treats many visitor-related injuries, such as spinal cord trauma from water activities. To assist in providing more awareness of these types of injuries, community education efforts will also be expanding to include fall prevention tips, spinal cord injury facts and prevention methods, and Stop the Bleed classes to reduce the number of fatalities caused by blood loss.

Maui Health is committed to caring for victims of concussions, and for providing continuous education on how to prevent traumatic injuries. If you or someone you care about have any symptoms of a concussion, prompt treatment is essential. Call your family physician as soon as possible, and if your symptoms get worse at any point, seek emergency care at MMMC Emergency Department.

Jeffrey Later
Trauma Care Program Manager, Maui Health