Health Info

panoramic closeup image of the front glass, offices, and entry to the Student Health Center

General Health - Concussion Head Trauma

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Some of the ways you can get a concussion are when you hit your head during a fall, car crash, or sports injury. Health care professionals sometimes refer to concussions as “mild” brain injuries because they are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.

What should I expect once I’m home?

Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. During recovery, it is important to know that many people have a range of symptoms. Some symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for hours or even days after the injury. You may not realize you have problems until you try to do your usual activities again.

Post concussive symptoms

Post concussive symptoms can involve physical symptoms, thinking/remembering difficulties, emotional/mood changes or sleep problems. Some symptoms include:

These post concussive symptoms can be part of the normal healing process and are generally not signs of permanent damage or serious health problems. Most symptoms go away within 2 weeks without any medical intervention.

back to top

Self-Care Recommendations

Gradual Return Plan


  1. No physical activity/Limit thinking and concentration (cognitive) activities.
  2. Low levels of physical activity (i.e., symptoms do not come back during or after the activity). This includes walking, light jogging, light stationary biking, light weightlifting (lower weight, higher reps, no bench, no squat).
  3. Moderate levels of physical activity with body/head movement. This includes moderate jogging, brief running, moderate-intensity stationary biking, moderate-intensity weightlifting (reduced time and/or reduced weight from your typical routine).
  4. Heavy non-contact physical activity. This includes sprinting/running, high-intensity stationary biking, regular weightlifting routine, non-contact sport-specific drills (in 3 planes of movement).
  5. Full contact in controlled practice.
  6. Full contact in game play.
  7. You may need additional restrictions for academic work. This could include complete rest, shortened days and/or extra time for assignments and tests.

back to top

When should I go to the hospital emergency department?

Sometimes serious problems develop after a head injury. Go to the emergency department if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Most of all, if you have any symptom that concerns you, your family members, or friends, don’t delay; go to the Emergency Department right away.


In an emergency go to Mount Nittany Medical Center or call 911 for an ambulance.

Test Results and Advice Nurse

Send secure message to advice nurse via the UHS website or call 814- 863-4463.


Appointments can be made online via the UHS website, by phone 814-863-0774, or in person. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call or go online to cancel. Otherwise you will be charged for the visit.

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. This information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. Approved by the UHS Patient Education Committee, reviwed 3/08/2017.

Other Health Topics: Women’s Health | Sexual Health | Birth Control | Illegal Drug Use

back to top

Student Health Center | 814.865.6556 | Contact University Health Services