DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions

Back to Medical FAQ List
Bookmark and Share

Head Trauma

I play football and suffered a concussion just a couple weeks ago. I'm planning a vacation to go diving, but is there any problem with this?

"Head trauma" refers to a head injury sufficient to cause prolonged unconsciousness or persisting brain dysfunction. Mild head injury without unconsciousness rarely has lasting effects.

Fitness & Diving


    Two principal concerns exist:

  1. Post-traumatic epilepsy - This risk is directly related to the severity of the injury and the time elapsed between the injury and your plans to dive. Penetrating head wounds with brain disruption have a high risk of post-traumatic seizure; head injuries resulting in brief unconsciousness do not. With mild head injuries, risk falls sharply with time; with penetrating head wounds, long-term risk is less predictable.

  2. Cognitive loss. Defects in memory, understanding and concentration are obvious risks in diving. This is best evaluated by social, school and job performances. If these skills are intact, there is probably no reason to restrict diving. Diving in itself does not worsen the effects of head injury.

For more information on conditions involving the central nervous system, see all of Dr. Hugh Greer's article from the May/June 1999 issue of Alert Diver.