Jimmy Buffett hospitalized after falling off stage in Australia

Chief “Parrothead” Jimmy Buffett, 64, has been admitted for observation at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Syndney Australia today after falling off the stage during a concert. A video obtained by TMZ.com shows the Margaritaville singer doing a face plant after falling from the edge of the stage. The singer was reportedly unconscious for a period of time and had a large gash on his head. “It looked like he did a massive face plant after his encore and pretty much didn’t get up,” a fan in the 10th row told Australia’s Daily Telegraph, which reported that fans were told to leave the auditorium immediately, without getting news on Buffett’s condition. Buffett was taken to the hospital where his aides say that  he is doing fine, recovering, and will stay in the hospital overnight.”  They also added that Buffett had a CAT scan which was normal.

Anyone who has had a head injury with a loss of consciousness is said to have a concussion. The severity of that concussion is dependent on a number of other factors, including whether other symptoms are present, and the severity of those symptoms.

What is a concussion?

The brain normally floats inside the skull, surrounded by spinal fluid. The brain has a consistency somewhat like jello, and although somewhat protected by the skull, is not completely protected by the impact of a violent force. Rapid changes in head movement, such a significant blow to the head, can cause the brain to hit against the inner wall of the skull, causing injury to the delicate brain tissue. There is also a chance that blood vessels in the brain can be torn, leading to bleeding in or around the brain.

Concussion is a very common problem, with over 1 million concussions occurring in the US each year. Many occur as sports injuries. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can include headache, loss of consciousness, and memory loss (amnesia)of events surrounding the injury. Many concussions do not involve loss of consciousness, but victims may appear shocked or stunned or a short period of time.

Symptoms of a more serious head injury include:

* Changed level of alertness (drowsy, hard to arouse, or similar changes)
* Seizures (convulsions)
* Muscle weakness on one or both sides
* Continued confusion
* Persistent unconsciousness (coma)
* Repeated vomiting
* Unequal pupils
* Unusual eye movements
* Walking problems
* Ear ringing
* Impaired balance

The presence of these symptoms requires evaluation by a physician. For mild concussions, treatment is rest, mild analgesics, and observation.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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