Emergency Physician Questions Seizures

Can being hit in the head cause a seizure?

My neighbor was punched in the head recently when he fought someone. Afterward, he started convulsing, and we found out that he actually suffered from a seizure. Can hitting someone hard really cause a seizure like that? What can we do for someone who is prone to having seizures?

7 Answers

Yes, a severe blow to the head can lead to seizures. He should have a complete history, like a history of hypertension, stroke, family history of seizures, and check the medication he is on. Finally, he needs to be evaluated by a physician.
Blunt head injuries with concussion may be related to seizures. When a person has a seizure can be assisted to a hard surface and hold the face to prevent injuries. Contact the ambulance if new or not in a secure place.
Yes that can happen. It would take a pretty forceful punch to do it though.
If a person is having a seizure, make sure there is nothing near them that they can roll onto and hurt themselves, and turn them face up. DO NOT EVER put anything in their mouth (especially your fingers) to "keep them from swallowing their tongue (that's impossible to do). Most seizures go away on their own within 5 minutes. Have someone call 911 or you do it and stay with them until the ambulance arrives. IF the seizure stops but they don't appear to be breathing, you can give them mouth to mouth. Check for a pulse at their neck (carotid artery) and if no pulse start CPR.
Seizure is a possibility after brain injury. If there is alcohol onboard, they may be at risk for seizure, even before the injury.
Many times, seizure is a complication of an old head injury as well.
Being hit in the head absolutely can cause a seizure. If the person has a pre-existing seizure disorder the trauma may cause a seizure through the concussive forces. If the person does not have a pre-existing seizure disorder a seizure indicates a severe disruption of the neural process and the individual should be evaluated by a physician rapidly, generally in the emergency room. Cerebral bleeding (bleeding in the space where the brain rests) is the most threatening concern for head trauma that results in seizure like activity. The concern is that the brain sits in a closed space (the bony skull) with no way to accommodate the expansion caused by the extra blood. This is a life threateneing process with the brain being compressed and needs emergent neurological intervention (they need surgery to decompress the pressure on the brain and then on going pressure monitoring in an ICU setting). Evan if bleeding has not occurred, a seizure after trauma to the head indicates severe injury to the brain (a Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury) and MUST have on going medical care to assure the best recovery from the injury.
Yes, potentially it can, but the patient needs to be seen to ask more questions to determine whether it was a head injury in the true sense.

Kamalinee Deshpande, M.D.
Yes, someone could have a seizure if hit hard enough in the head. Depending on the mechanism of injury, being hit in the head could cause facial fractures or bleeding in the brain - which might subsequently cause of seizure. If someone is seizure prone (in other words, has had prior seizures or is at risk of them), they should have an evaluation done by a neurologist, and possibly be put on anti-seizure medicine.