Signs & Symptoms

Concussion Signs & Symptoms

Concussions are often an ‘invisible’ injury. Many concussions go undiagnosed and untreated and most occur without loss of consciousness. Teachers, fr​iends, coaches, teammates, parents, and onlookers need to know how to recognize when a child has experienced this trauma.*​​​​
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Because the child (or person) who is injured is not able to make the best decisions for their own care, it is vital that those around them know the signs of concussion. Contact your health care provider to make an appointment if a concussion is suspected. If symptoms are severe, call 911.​​​

The often-subtle signs of concussions include:

• Vacant stare (befuddled facial expr​ession)​
• Delayed verbal and motor responses (slow to answer questions or follow instructions)
• Confusion and inability to focus attention (easily distracted and unable to follow through
   with normal activities)
• Nausea or vomiting
• Disorientation (walking in the wrong direction, unaware of time, date and place)
​• Slurred or incoherent speech (making disjointed or incomprehensible statements)
• Gross observable incoordination (stumbling, inability to walk tandem/straight line)
• Emotions out of proportion to circumstances (distraught, crying for no apparent reason)
• Memory deficits (exhibited by the student repeatedly asking the same question that has
    already been answered or inability to memorize and recall 3 of 3 words, or 3 of 3 objects
    in 5 minutes)
• Any period of loss of consciousness (paralytic coma, unresponsiveness to arousal)​​​
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Concussions symptoms students may mention include: Headache, Balance problems or dizziness, Double or blurred vision, Sensitivity to light or noise, Sluggish feeling, hazy feeling, Concentration or memory problems, Confusion, Does not feel “right.”

*Please note that these concussion symptoms may not be present right away and can take several hours or even a day to appear. Therefore, it is best to stop physical activity right away if a child (or person) has had a blow or jolt to their head, even if they do not appear injured.


For more signs and symptoms visit: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/coaches_Engl.pdf

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