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Concussion Signs & Symptoms

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.

You are not able to see a concussion directly, but will notice the signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms may show up right after the injury, or they may not be noticed until days or weeks later. We see patients with concussions caused by a variety of ways. Common causes include sports-related injuries, motor vehicle accidents, work-related injuries, and falls.

What are signs and symptoms of a concussion?

Recognizing symptoms of a concussion are key to treating and recovering from brain injury. Some symptoms appear immediately or within hours of injury. Others can take several days to show. Symptoms usually fall into four categories.

Physical Symptoms:
  • Headache
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Balance Problems
  • Numbness/Tingling
  • Sensitivity to Light/Noise
  • Visual Problems
  • Dizziness
  • Dazed or Stunned Appearance
Cognitive Symptoms:
  • Feeling Mentally Foggy
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Difficulty Remembering
  • Repeating Questions
  • Feeling Mentally Slowed Down
  • Forgetful of Recent Information
  • Confused About Recent Events
  • Answering Questions Slowly
Sleep Symptoms:
  • Drowsiness
  • Sleeping Less Than Usual
  • Sleeping More Than Usual
  • Trouble Falling Asleep
Emotional Symptoms:
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • More Emotional
  • Nervousness

Signs observed by others:
  • Confused or appears dazed or stunned
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Unsure of surroundings
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can't recall events before or after injury
Symptoms Reported by Patient:
  • Headache or pressure in head
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feels sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Doesn't "feel right"
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Feelings of anxiety
Danger Signs:
  • Seizures
  • Not recognizing people or common places
  • Unusual behavior or actions
  • Slurred speech
  • Children unable to be calmed or will not nurse/eat food
If you or your loved one reports any symptoms of a concussion that last longer than two weeks, please make an appointment with the Deaconess Concussion Clinic.
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