A character who is close to the explosion of a mortar shell has a concussion and his lights go out.

In this situation would it be possible to lose consciousness without a loss of blood?

If so how would a field medic treat this?

And finally, who long would somebody be realistically unconscious? Would 3 hours be unrealistic?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, Michael. We invite you to take our tour and read-up in the help center about how we work. Enjoy the site. $\endgroup$ May 28, 2021 at 22:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ YOu could try the Medical Sciences stack, it seems more on-topic there. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2021 at 0:37
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    $\begingroup$ I think that this question should be divided into 2: 1) is loss of consciousness is possible under these circumstances (provide specific details) and if yes, how long a person would be in this state? and 2) how a field medic would treat this condition. You should provide details related to the mortar shell and the distance from it. For the second question, the level of medicine and type of world would matter a lot: Medical treatment in a world with magic is vastly different from our Earth. Also, the medicine of today is different from medicine 150 years ago. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    May 29, 2021 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


Lose consciousness: yes

Without any loss of blood: unlikely, as eyes, ears, nose bleed from the shockwave of a nearby high-explosive detonation at pressures way below that needed for concussion. Such bleeding is minor, mostly cosmetic, and definitely not life-threatening.

field treatment: Position victim to ease breathing. Sit back and wait. Yes, seriously. The best non-hospital treatment for concussion is nothing. NO movement, no activity, no drinking fluids. nothing. For about 2 days.

How long: 5 seconds to 2 minutes is very likely. This is a temporary disruption of the brain, caused by it sloshing around. It does not cause (much) damage without further complications.
More than several days is possible, but unlikely. (and indicative of permanent damage, typically caused by bleeding and/or swelling of the brain)
Time between this is highly unlikely, and usually indicates you are an actor in a movie filming a barfight.

However, victim will be at varying levels of unresponsiveness. Reduced function, not true unconsciousness.


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