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Do you have a concussion? Possible symptoms to be aware of

Take every concussion seriously. It's a brain injury. Repeated concussions can lead to lasting cognitive issues. Even one concussion can impact your life for weeks or even months. This isn't something you should shake off without thinking about it.

Think about how a concussion happens. Your brain itself impacts the inside of your skull. It's a violent impact. Getting into a car accident can cause it, for instance, or getting thrown off of a motorcycle and hitting your head -- helmet or not -- on the pavement. Your brain still takes that impact. You could lose consciousness. It's that bad.

So, with that in mind, what symptoms should you watch out for to know if you have a concussion?

1. Losing consciousness for any amount of time

As noted above, you may be unconscious for a moment after the impact. Sometimes, it's just for a second or two. Other times, people lose consciousness for a minute or more. The length of time does not matter -- do not take it less seriously because you "came to" quickly. If you're missing any time at all, you could have a concussion.

2. Mental confusion and memory loss

Immediately after you get the concussion, you may feel confused. You may not know where you are or what day it is. When people try to talk to you, you could feel like your brain is trying to fight through a heavy fog.

In some cases, people actually cannot remember things that happened. You may wake up after the impact and think it is the previous day. Hours may be missing. Sometimes these memories come back and sometimes they don't.

3. Lasting headaches

A headache is one of the main symptoms that tends to go on, possibly for days. Your brain is physically bruised and you feel that pain endlessly as it heals. This is especially obvious if you're not the type of person to get headaches for other reasons, but now you always seem to have one that you cannot shake.

4. Seeing bright lights

Did you feel like you saw stars or flashing lights during the impact? Even if you did not lose consciousness, that could still be a concussion. This may make you feel dizzy after the fact. Even without other physical injuries, your dizziness may make it hard for you to walk.

On top of that, the dizziness can get so bad that you feel nauseated or you actually throw up. Everyone's body responds to trauma in different ways. These symptoms indicate that your brain took a serious blow and needs time to heal.

Your rights

If you do suffer from a head injury in a car accident, make sure you know all of your rights to financial compensation.

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