The Longevity Project: What should you do if you or someone you know may have experienced head injury?

Kristen Mohammadi
The Aspen Times
The Longevity Project is a collaboration between The Aspen Times and Post Independent. The Longevity Event will be held Nov. 10 at TACAW in Willits.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are called a “silent epidemic” because the injury impacts millions but can go undetected. Over the years, concerns for TBIs has grown, in part due to the attention paid to long-term health complications experienced by professional football players.

“For a long time, people would say to somebody, ‘You had a concussion, brushed it off. Get back out on the field, no big deal,”‘ said Krista Fox, occupational therapist at Aspen Valley Hospital.

We’ve come a long way since then. Research shows that even a mild concussion can have lasting impacts that may go away over time.

So, what should you do if you or someone you know have experienced a head injury?

The first thing you should do is call 911. The sooner an injured person receives professional medical treatment, the better.

While you wait for emergency responders, you can administer the following steps, according to Mayo Clinic:

1.) Keep the injured person still.

The injured person should be laying down, with their head and shoulders slightly elevated. If they are wearing a helmet, it is advised to not remove it.

2.) Stop any bleeding.

Apply pressure to a wound with a sterile gauze or clean cloth. If there is a skull fracture, do not apply direct pressure.

3.) Watch for changes in breathing and alertness.

Pay close attentions to changes in breath. If necessary, administer CPR.

Applying a cold compress to a head wound is also advised to mitigate swelling.

According to Mount Sinai, it is not advised to wash a head wound that is deep, move an injured person unless absolutely necessary or shake an injured person if they seem dazed.

However, according to Fox, for some it can take a bit of time before an injured person starts to recognize that a brain injury could has occurred.

“Sometimes, it can even be that someone has had an accident or an injury, and they don’t recognize anything happened to their head,” she said. “Then, it may be a couple of days later, and they’ve got headaches, or they’re nauseated and have dizziness.”

If you’ve hit your head, it is important to watch for symptoms.

Symptoms of traumatic brain injuries, according to The Food and Drug Administration:

Symptoms of mild TBI include:

  • headache
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • ringing in the ears
  • memory impairment
  • blurred vision
  • behavioral changes

Moderate and severe TBI can produce more symptoms including:

  • repeated vomiting or nausea
  • slurred speech
  • weakness in the arms or legs
  • problems with thinking and learning
  • death

If you notice any unusual changes after an injury, or if you suspect you may have a traumatic brain injury, contact your doctor immediately.

To reach Kristen Mohammadi, call 304-650-2404 or email

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.