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  • New York Neurobehavioral Services

How Can Concussions Affect Cognitive Development?

Updated: Mar 18

Concussions, otherwise known as traumatic brain injuries, are a major concern for athletes and medical professionals alike. A concussion can occur after an impact to the head where the brain is moved due to the shake or rapid movement it experienced. This can have significant impacts on cognitive development in those who experience one or multiple concussive events during their lives.

Impact of Long-term Brain Injury on Cognitive Functioning

After a concussion, it is important to keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of cognitive impairment. Some of the most common signs include confusion, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems. You may also experience headaches, dizziness, and sensitivity to light or noise. Other people may notice changes in your personality or mood, such as irritability or depression. These symptoms can last for days or even weeks after a concussion, so it is important to take it easy and give your brain time to heal.

Here are some of the impacts of long-term brain injury:

Memory problems

Concussions can cause memory problems that can persist for a long time. Memory loss can be short-term, meaning that you may have trouble remembering things that happened recently, or long-term, meaning that you may have trouble remembering things that happened in the past. Moreover, concussions can impact your ability to learn and remember new information.

Attention deficit

Concussions can lead to problems in focusing and paying attention. This can affect your ability to concentrate while studying or working. Moreover, concussions can also lead to a shorter attention span and an inability to filter out distractions.

Executive function disruption

Concussions can also impact executive functions such as decision-making, planning, or problem-solving. This can hinder your ability to perform complex tasks or make effective decisions. In more severe cases, executive function disruptions can even lead to personality changes.

Speech and language impairment

Concussions can lead to speech and language impairment, including difficulties with reading, writing, and speaking. This can be a major obstacle to academic and professional success.

Emotional and behavioral problems

The list of concussion side effects also includes emotional and behavioral problems such as irritability, anxiety, and depression. Concussions can lead to mood swings, inappropriate behavior, or even personality changes. This can impact the ability to cope with everyday life, work, and relationships.

Strategies for Managing Cognitive Deficits Following a Concussion

Suffering a concussion can be a scary and traumatic experience. However, managing cognitive deficits following such an injury is crucial for a successful recovery. Fortunately, there are several strategies that individuals can use to help manage their cognitive deficits. One of the most effective methods is to rest both physically and mentally. Taking breaks from mentally taxing tasks and getting enough sleep are essential for allowing the brain to heal. It's also important to keep a regular schedule and avoid overstimulation. Additionally, cognitive rehabilitation therapy, such as memory and attention training exercises, can help improve deficits in these areas. By implementing these strategies, individuals can successfully manage cognitive deficits following a concussion and get back on the path to wellness.


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