Concussion Testing

This information is useful for children and adults
Why Yale?
  • Our doctors perform a thorough evaluation for all patients with head trauma.
  • In addition to diagnoses, we help patients understand how to take care of themselves at home.
  • We connect young or old patients with experts focused on their unique needs.

A bump on the head (what doctors call "minor head trauma") gets taken seriously today, given what scientists now know about the after-effects of concussion. Whether from a fall, sports injury or accident, a blunt trauma to the head can cause a brain injury in a person of any age. 

“When somebody comes in to the emergency department with a minor head trauma, the big questions are: Is it truly minor or is it more serious?” says Ted Melnick, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Yale School of Medicine. “A clinician will determine whether they have any red flag signs or symptoms that might require hospitalization or surgery.”

Minor head trauma is a term that describes the way an injury that could result in brain injury occurs. “There’s a lot of confusion around this terminology,” says Dr. Melnick, offering this clarification: "The best way to tease it out is that minor head trauma is how patients hurt themselves, whereas the traumatic brain injury is what happens to their brain.”

Scientists have learned that two main types of accidents are likely to raise the risk of a more serious brain injury: Being hit by or ejected from a moving vehicle, and falling from a distance of three feet or more (or down five stairs). 

Also, regardless of how the injury happens, any person age 65 or older should treat a fall that results in minor head trauma as a medical emergency and see a doctor as soon as possible.