What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
There are many observable signs and symptoms that may help identify a concussion. Symptoms often appear immediately after the trauma to the head, but sometimes are not evident until hours or days after the injury.
- Loss of consciousness
- Poor coordination/balance
- Impact seizure
- Slow to answer questions or follow directions
- Slurred speech
- Poor concentration
- Personality changes
- Inappropriate emotions
- Inappropriate playing behavior
- Decreased playing ability
- Amnesia (loss of memory)
- Retrograde–the inability to recall events before the injury
- Anterograde–the inability to form new memories after the injury
Symptoms Described by the Athlete
- Headache (most common symptom)
- Pressure in your head
- Balance problems
- Feeling “dinged,” “foggy,” stunned or “dazed”
- Visual disturbance (seeing stars or flashing lights, double vision)
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Hearing problems
- Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
- Weakness and/or numbness anywhere in your body
- Emotional changes
- Fatigue, feeling sleepy or “slowed down”
- Sleep disturbance (sleeping more or less than usual)
If any of these observable signs and/or symptoms is noticed following a blow to the head, your child should have an evaluation by an athletic trainer or physician. These providers can examine your child and recommend appropriate treatment, such as sitting out the remainder of the competition or activity, and/or additional evaluation in an emergency department, or following-up with a physician with experience in concussion care.
Your child should not return to play until they have been evaluated a by a physician who has experience in concussion management.
Your child should not be left alone for the first few hours following a concussion; they should be accompanied by an adult who can monitor for signs of worsening symptoms. If a you or coach notices that your child has progressively worsening symptoms following a head injury, you should arrange to have your child evaluated in the emergency room right away.