Not a day goes by when a news reporter in print, television or on the radio states that someone has had a “severe concussion.” We’ve all heard that Hilary Clinton and Barbara Walters had severe concussions” and we’ve heard of football players having “severe concussions.” Yet, is this term actually real?
The answer is NO, just as a mild traumatic brain injury is not mild, and you can’t be “kinda pregnant.” You are either pregnant or you are not.
Too often reporters use terminology without the slightest clue what they mean. My reaction to the use of a “severe concussion” is like hearing nails across a chalkboard. The reality of a concussion, also called a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), is that it is a traumatic injury to the brain. This is the actual event. The consequences of a concussion are called post concussion syndrome (PCS) in parts of the world including the US, and also called post concussion disorder (PCD) in Canada, United Kingdom and other parts of the world.
A concussion means that the brain has been injured from an outside force, such as an automobile accident, domestic violence, sporting or recreational event or blast injury. The term concussion refers to the length of time you are not aware of your surroundings and your inability to recall information prior to or after an injury (also known as being unconscious). If that length of time is between zero and 60 minutes, it is called a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury. If that length of time is longer than 60 minutes it is called a moderate traumatic brain injury. If the loss of awareness is greater than 24 hours, it is called a coma.