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Concussion Symptoms

Know What to Look For

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not show up immediately. Symptoms can last for days, weeks or even longer. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have a concussion, seek medical help immediately. 

•  Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
•  Temporary loss of consciousness, although loss of consciousness is not necessary
•  Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
•  Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
•  Dizziness or "seeing stars"
•  Ringing in the ears
•  Nausea
•  Vomiting
•  Slurred speech
•  Delayed response to questions
•  Appearing dazed
•  Fatigue

You may have some symptoms of concussions immediately. Others may be delayed for hours or days after injury,

Some of these delayed symptoms may include:

•  Concentration and memory complaints
•  Irritability and other personality changes
•  Sensitivity to light and noise
•  Sleep disturbances
•  Psychological adjustment problems and depression
•  Disorders of taste and smell

*You do not need to have all of these symptoms in order to have a concussion, and you may have others not listed. 

Head trauma is very common in young children, but concussions can be difficult to recognize in infants and toddlers because they can't describe how they feel. Concussion clues may include:

•  Appearing dazed
•  Listlessness and tiring easily
•  Irritability and crankiness
•  Loss of balance and unsteady walking
•  Crying excessively
•  Change in eating or sleeping patterns
•  Lack of interest in favorite toys

See a doctor immediately if you suspect a concussion!

Seek emergency care for an adult or child who experiences a head injury and symptoms such as:

•  Vomiting
•  A loss of consciousness
•  A headache that gets worse over time
•  Changes in behavior, such as irritability
•  Changes in physical coordination, such as stumbling or clumsiness
•  Confusion or disorientation, such as difficulty recognizing people or places
•  Slurred speech or other changes in speech

•  Seizures
•  Vision or eye disturbances, such as pupils that are bigger than normal (dilated pupils) or pupils of unequal sizes
•  Lasting or recurrent dizziness
•  Obvious difficulty with mental function or physical coordination
•  Symptoms that worsen over time
•  Large head bumps or bruises on areas other than the forehead in children, especially in infants under 12 months of age

Activities and factors that may increase your risk of a concussion include:

•  Falling, especially in young children and older adults
•  Participating in a high-risk sport, such as football, hockey, soccer, rugby, boxing or other contact sport
•  Participating in high-risk sports without proper safety equipment and supervision
•  Being involved in a motor vehicle collision
•  Being involved in a pedestrian or bicycle accident
•  Being a soldier involved in combat
•  Being a victim of physical abuse
•  Having had a previous concussion

Potential complications of concussion include:

•  Post-traumatic headaches. Some people experience ongoing headaches after suffering a concussion. These headaches can sometimes last for years, and they can be ongoing, or intermittent.
•  Post-traumatic vertigo. Some people experience a sense of spinning or dizziness for days, week or months after a brain injury.
•  Post-concussion syndrome. Some people have symptoms — such as headaches, dizziness and thinking difficulties — a few days after a concussion. Symptoms may continue for weeks, months or years. See the page titled Post Concussion Syndrome for more information.
•  Cumulative effects of multiple brain injuries - It's possible that some people who have had one or more traumatic brain injuries over the course of their lives are at greater risk of developing lasting, possibly progressive, impairment that limits function. This is an area of active research.

Second Impact Syndrome is experiencing a second concussion before signs and symptoms of a first concussion have resolved.

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Important Disclaimer: Concussion Mom is an internet tool used to aid in the education and awareness of concussions, and to provide general information about concussions and concussion education and management. Concussion Mom is not medically based and does not provide medical advice. Concussion Mom should not be used in the diagnosis or management of concussion. Always seek medical attention immediately if you suspect a concussion. Concussion Mom does not discourage participation in sports, but does encourage safety in sports participation.