Get the facts about concussion & other brain injuries


Any brain injury can have lifelong consequences

Dr. Elizabeth Sandel provides accurate, up-to-date, evidence-based information about the science, care, and treatment of concussion and other brain injuries to medical or care professionals, or anyone who wants to get educated on this topic.

Dr. Elizabeth Sandel

© Photo: Susan Freundlich


Patients &

The Traumatic Brain Injury Epidemic

Did you know? Female athletes sustain concussions at higher rates than male athletes.



in the US each year produced by sports and recreational injuries, according to the CDC.



somewhere in the world will experience a TBI each year. Most of these are concussions or mild brain injuries.



in concussion diagnoses in US emergency rooms from 2007 to 2011. One third were sports related.

person with headache and concussion symptoms by window, shielding eyes

Misconceptions About Concussion Care & Concussion Symptoms

The first sign is loss of consciousness

You do not have to lose consciousness or hit your head to have a concussion or symptoms of concussion. Any hit to your body that is strong enough to cause your head to forcefully jerk backwards, forwards, or to the side, puts you at risk for damage to the brain.

It's fine to wait a few weeks

before seeing a doctor. If a concussion is suspected, it's important to get medical evaluation within two days (or immediately if symptoms are severe) so a plan of care can be initiated. Up to 50% of people still have concussion symptoms such as headaches after 3 months, so follow-up is necessary, too.

Rest is the only treatment for concussion symptoms,

including mild concussion symptoms. In the first few days after a concussion, you may need to restrict activities, but then a gradual resumption of activities and an exercise program will speed recovery.

women playing soccer
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bicyclist on street

One evening, when Seth was biking home, a collision threw him off his bike and into the windshield of an oncoming car. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet. But the windshield shattered, and blood gushed from his eyebrow. He wanted to continue on his way, but bystanders suggested otherwise.

An ambulance took him to a familiar place, the very medical center where he was in his second year of medical school. They scanned him for injuries, stitched up his face and shoulder, and sent him home.

The next day, he felt worse. For weeks and months, he had headaches, dizziness, episodes of blurry vision, sensitivity to light and sounds, and other difficulties.

construction worker up high

Dr. Elizabeth Sandel

Dr. Elizabeth Sandel has worked with brain injury patients for over 30 years, as well as taken part in many studies to advance the treatment of concussion. Having worked so closely with this condition, she is considered an expert in the field and seeks to spread accurate and up-to-date information on the subject.


Award of Excellence
Pennsylvania Head Injury Association

Profession of Medicine Award
The Permanente Medical Group

Krusen Lifetime Achievement Award
America Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Elizabeth showing brain parts

© Photo: Susan Freundlich

Reviews of Shaken Brain

A fascinating page turner. Propelled by Dr. Sandel’s exceptional storytelling and clinical expertise, Shaken Brain sheds light on the myths and misunderstandings surrounding concussions, and their consequential impact on so many lives.

caring iconMarilyn Spivack, cofounder and past President, Brain Injury Association of America

Book Cover: The Shaken Brain

“A thoroughly engaging and enlightening account, this book explores the often perplexing issues and controversies surrounding post-concussion symptoms. A vital read.”

caring iconMel Glenn, MD, Chief, Brain Injury Division, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

“A valuable resource for patients who have experienced concussion and their families, as well as for the physicians, therapists, and scientists who have made it their life’s work to help them.”

caring iconJohn Leddy, Professor, Medical Director, Concussion Management Clinic, SUNY Buffalo

Latest Insights

Dr. Sandel maintains an active network with other leading brain injury experts. In this blog, she shares ground-breaking insights and fresh perspectives to help you navigate this complex condition and learn about common concussion symptoms.

Is There a Connection Between Mild TBI and Mental Health Disorders in Adults and Children?

In a recent study, researchers at Kaiser Permanente found that risks for affective and behavioral disorders were significantly higher in the years post-injury for children and adolescents with a history of mTBI—especially for 10- to 13-year-olds. They emphasize the importance of regular interval screening for affective and behavioral disorders in children and adolescents who sustain a mild TBI. This post includes a slide presentation and Q & A with two of the researchers, Richard Delmonico, PhD, and Brian Theodore, PhD.


Concussion Alliance Co-Founders Interviewed for Slate Article

More and more journalists are writing about concussion, in many cases because they have had a concussion themselves or have friends or relatives who have experienced one. In March, 2024, Isobel Whitcomb interviewed Concussion Alliance co-founders Conor Gormally and Malayka Gormally for an article in Slate. It is concerning that bad medical advice (“just rest”) is still being given to concussion patients as is clear in Whitcomb’s story.


Why I Am Not Surprised About the Latest CTE Research

Millions of children play contact and collision sports in the US, with high risks for head impacts. Repetitive hits can result in concussions or subconcussions without immediate evidence of neurologic injury. CTE is a brain disorder caused by repetitive hits to the brain from sports such as football and soccer. The latest study from Dr. Ann McKee’s brain lab at Boston University links CTE to child athletes who died before the age of 30.


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