Discharge Instructions for Concussion

You have been diagnosed with a concussion, a type of brain injury caused by a sudden impact to your head. It can also be caused by sudden movement of your brain inside your head, such as from forceful shaking. Some concussions are mild. Most people recover completely from mild concussions. But recovery may take days, weeks, or months. For some, symptoms may last even longer. Early care and monitoring are important to prevent long-term complications.

Home care

Do's and don'ts: 

  • Ask a friend or family member to stay with you for a few days. You should not be alone until you know how the injury has affected you.

  • Tell your caregiver to wake you every 2 to 3 hours during the first night. Your caregiver should call 911 if he or she can’t wake you, or if you are confused.

  • Don’t take any medicine—not even aspirin—unless your healthcare provider says it's OK. If you have a headache, try placing a cold, damp cloth on your forehead.

  • Eat light. Clear liquids, such as broth or gelatin, are a good choice.

  • Don't drink alcohol or use any recreational drugs. 

  • Don't return to sports or any activity that could cause you to hit your head until all symptoms are gone and your healthcare provider says it's OK. A second head injury before full recovery from the first one can lead to serious brain injury.

  • Don't do activities that require a lot of concentration or attention. This will allow your brain to rest and heal more quickly.

The best way to recover is to discuss symptoms with your healthcare provider and your family. Work closely with your healthcare provider and give your brain time to heal.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.


Call 911

Your caregiver should call 911 right away if you have fallen asleep, cannot be awakened, or you are confused.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these symptoms occur:

  • Vomiting

  • Clear or bloody drainage from your nose or ear

  • Constant drowsiness or trouble waking up

  • Confusion or memory loss

  • Blurred vision

  • Trouble walking, talking, or concentrating

  • Increased weakness or problems with coordination

  • Constant headache that can’t be relieved or gets worse

  • Changes in behavior or personality