Have you heard about the situation where someone is involved in some type of injury, sports related, or in an accident with a vehicle or bicycle and they’ve been sent to the emergency room and their caregiver is sent home with instructions to wake the person up every three or four hours? Why is the physician recommending this to be done?
This recommendation is typically made in what we consider the acute phase of recovery after a concussion. It is because the doctors are not aware or don’t know yet whether there might be a bleed or a slight bleeding on the brain. The concern traditionally was that if a person had a small bleed going on and it wasn’t enough to manifests itself right away or show any symptoms then they wouldn’t know. It’s possible that over the course of time a bleed of a small vessel within the brain can build up pressure on the brain and it could occur that the person actually falls asleep or goes unconscious because of that pressure. And, if this pressure continues to build without being treated by a physician it could actually cause death.
So, if someone has suffered a concussion it is a very good idea to make sure that they are awake and they are not having symptoms over the course of the first 24 hours. Your doctor will tell you how long that needs to be considered to make sure a bleed is not occurring. This is not something that goes on indefinitely. It is possible for someone to have a small bleed that takes even longer than the first day or two days to manifest itself but it is pretty unusual.