All head injuries should be treated seriously because there could be damage to the person’s brain, which may not be clear at first. Whether a person gets a bump on the head when they are playing sport, or has a bad fall, or is in a car crash, they may need your help.

Quick help 

  • Call 111 for an ambulance if the person is unresponsive.

  • If the person is playing any sport or doing other physical activity, tell them to stop straight away.

  • Get the person to see a doctor.


What to look for

Nausea or vomiting: The person feels sick or is being sick. 

Headache: The person has a headache that may be getting worse. 

Confusion: The person is not sure what’s happening around them. 

Loss of memory: The person can’t remember what happened before or after the injury.  

Loss of balance: The person can’t stand up properly. 

Sluggish: The person is slow to answer when you ask them a question or tell them to do something. 

Losing consciousness: The person is unconscious or passing out. 

Liquid coming out of nose or ear: Blood or watery liquid is coming from the person’s nose or ear.

How you can help

If they are conscious 

  • If the person is playing a sport or doing another activity, tell them to stop straight away.
  • Check that they are happy for you to touch them before you give first aid. 
  • Give them simple pain relief, like paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory medicine. 
  • Make sure the person sees a doctor before they return to the sport. (Another head injury before their brain has recovered can be serious.)

If the person is unresponsive 

  • If the person is breathing normally put them on their side and tilt their head back to keep their airway clear (the recovery position). 
  • Cover the person with a blanket or clothes to keep them warm. 
  • Keep checking that the person is breathing normally. 
  • Stay with them until an ambulance arrives. 
If you have a person in urgent need of medical attention, call 111 now.  
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