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Unconscious Casualty
If You Have to Move the Casualty


In itself, concussion is not a serious injury as the casualty will recover when the disturbance caused by the impact stops. However, because concussion often accompanies violent head movement, there is always the possibility of a skull fracture or more serious, longer-term brain injury, such as compression. It is important therefore that even a seemingly recovered casualty with concussion should seek medical treatment.

How to treat concussion

  1. Place the casualty in the recovery position if necessary and monitor ABC.
  2. Call an ambulance if the casualty does not recover after 3 minutes or if there are signs of skull fracture or compression.
  3. Advise the casualty to seek medical advice if recovery appears to be complete.
  4. Encourage the casualty to keep still while recovering as this reduces dizziness and nausea.
  5. Be aware of the increased likelihood of neck injuries.


Compression is a very serious injury that occurs when pressure is exerted on the brain, either by a piece of bone, bleeding or swelling of the injured brain. It may develop immediately after a head injury or stroke, or some hours or even days later.

Signs and symptoms of compression

  • Person becomes increasingly drowsy and unresponsive.
  • Flushed and dry skin.
  • Slurred speech and confusion.
  • Partial or total loss of movement, often down one side of the body.
  • One pupil bigger than the other.
  • Noisy breathing which becomes slow.
  • Slow, strong pulse.

How to treatcompression

If some or all of these symptoms are present, suspect compression and carry out the following treatment.

  1. If the casualty is unconscious, place in the recovery position and monitor airway, breathing and circulation.
  2. If conscious, lay the casualty down with the head and shoulders slightly raised, maintaining a close check on the ABC. Call an ambulance, and be prepared to resuscitate.
Do not give anything to eat or drink - the casualty may need a general anaesthetic in hospital.
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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.