How Long Does A Concussion Usually Last?

Caused by blunt trauma to the head, a concussion is considered a "mild traumatic brain injury" that impairs brain functioning (via Cleveland Clinic). A motorcycle accident, contact sports, or a severe fall are all scenarios that can lead to a concussion, reports WebMD. Depending on the severity, a person may or may not undergo a loss of consciousness from a concussion. However, symptoms most commonly include confusion, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, dizziness, noise or light sensitivity, headache, and more. 

To help determine the severity of the injury, physicians will look at how long concussion symptoms persist immediately following the trauma. Symptoms of a Grade 1 concussion generally last no more than 15 minutes, while symptoms that extend beyond 15 minutes are indicative of a Grade 2 concussion. A Grade 3 concussion involves a loss of consciousness — even if it's just for a few moments. 

While the healing process will look different for everyone, recovery from a concussion usually goes through two phases, explains Beaumont Health.

The phases of concussion recovery

The first phase of recovery is the acute phase (via Beaumont Health). It's during this phase that rest is critical, as the patient's symptoms are still present. For this reason, individuals should refrain from activities that may worsen the condition. These may include sports, texting, or driving, as well as computer, television, or video game usage. A physician may also advise a patient to stay home before returning to school or work. Generally, the acute phase of concussion recovery lasts about seven or more days.

After the acute phase, a patient then enters the recovery phase. During this time, a patient's symptoms have begun to lessen and they've exhibited improved performance on concussion tests. With physician permission, patients generally begin to resume their normal day-to-day activity during this phase of recovery. Sometimes, a patient with a more severe concussion will enter a third phase known as the chronic phase, in which more long-term care may be required. Similarly, experts at Mayo Clinic say some patients can develop ​​persistent post-concussive symptoms. This would cause recovery to extend into the weeks or months following the injury.

Overall, however, experts at Beaumont Health state that 80% of concussion cases take one to two weeks to recover from, with the average recovery time lasting about 10 days.