Concussion Symptoms: What You Need to Know

What You Need to Know: Symptoms of Concussion

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. Concussions are the result of a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Just like people, every concussion is unique. In fact, healthcare professionals in the field of brain injury often say, “If you’ve seen one concussion, you’ve seen one concussion.” Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Most signs or symptoms of a concussion are evident soon after the traumatic event, while you may only become aware of others days or weeks later.

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of a concussion:

General Symptoms of Concussion

  • Headaches or neck pain that do not go away
  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading
  • Getting lost or easily confused
  • Feeling tired all of the time, having no energy or motivation
  • Mood changes (feeling sad or angry for no reason)
  • Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping a lot more or having a hard time sleeping)
  • Light-headedness, dizziness, or loss of balance
  • Urge to vomit (nausea)
  • Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, or distractions
  • Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Ringing in the ears

Most people make a good recovery from a concussion, but it’s important to take what may seem like just a bump on the head seriously. A common question is when should I go to the hospital for a concussion? If you or a loved one notices any of the above symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away. Even seemingly minor bumps can result in life threatening brain bleeding or other serious conditions that can only be identified and treated in a hospital.

Children Concussion Symptoms

Children with a concussion can have the same symptoms as adults, but it is often harder for them to share how they feel. Call your child’s doctor if they have had a blow to the head and you notice any of these concussion symptoms:

  • Tiredness or listlessness
  • Irritability or crankiness (will not stop crying or cannot be consoled)
  • Changes in eating (will not eat or nurse)
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in the way the child plays
  • Changes in performance at school
  • Lack of interest in favorite toys or activities
  • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training
  • Loss of balance or unsteady walking
  • Vomiting

Sometimes adults and children complain of “just not feeling like themselves.” Children often have a hard time explaining that they don't feel normal and it's up to the parents and their friends, family or coaches to know that they aren't acting like themselves and get them to rest or to seek medical attention.

Posted on BrainLine July 25, 2018. Reviewed March 28, 2019.

About the Author

BrainLine offers authoritative information and support to anyone whose life has been affected by brain injury or PTSD: people with brain injuries, their family and friends, and the professionals who work with them.

BrainLine is a national service of WETA-TV, the flagship PBS station in Washington, D.C. Learn more >

Comments (118)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

oof i just hit my head and i have 7 of the symptoms

I hit my forehead and now it has a bump (5m 13) and only maybe 15 mins later (?) I found a bump on my forhead It hurts a bit and its 12:30 AM rn probably 40 mins after I hit my head. I got up and got a water bottle maybw 20 mins ago and I was wobbly. Im also super tired cause its late at night but Idk if I should sleep or not. Like I said my forhead hurts a bit and Im a little wobbly so idk if I have a concussion or what..

66 years old a week ago walked into wall in dark bathroom run and now I get a severe headache while I’m sleeping wakes me up over right temple extremely painful 3 nights in a row. The first 2 were almost same time in early am last night has 4 starting at midnight went away feel back to sleep and 3 more at intervals hypnic headaches or concussion?

My husband, aged 76, was having thermo-regulatory sweat tests earlier today, for his autonomic system failure, at UAB Medical Center. After the test, while entering the sit-shower, he became faint and fell in the shower, hitting his forehead (big goose egg), and his shins. Since we came home, the room started spinning when he was lying down, his head hurts badly if he bends over, and he has pain across the back of his neck and shoulder. How long should we wait to see if he starts feeling better? We don't want to go to an emergency room unless absolutely necessary due to his age and other high risk factors for COVID.

I don't know when this started but I keep getting distracted,have bad headaches,forget the most common stuff,parts of my head feel like they sunk a little,feel tired all the time,keep getting angry at the tiniest thing and feel sad almost all the time,have a hard time sleeping,feel light-headed,lose my balance sometimes,don't like high sounds or bright lights,my eyes get blurry a lot,feel like my eyes are tired?,loss of taste and ringing in the ears and I hit my head whenever I think something random and unessesary I just hit my head and it made a *crack*ish sound and my neck is hurting a lot and my right eye is feeling like something is covering? it and my head is starting to hurt pls help I don't know what to do right now

Yesterday someone pulled my hair, because they were trying to get something off me and I can’t quite remember the details but I fell back and hit my head (it happened really quick). I had a headache all day. Then at my soccer game today I did a header then my head really hurt and I felt dizzy. I have also been feeling light headed. My parents don’t know because I thought it was nothing. I am 12, what should I do?

My head got hit with glass door very hard I have a hard barely visible bump on my head it hurts when I touch it and after that I feel very dizzy after touching I can not concentrate and focus also.

I put a rubber head band on tight to maintain my hair and went to sleep and woke up this morning with a bump on my head. What kind of condition you think this is?

My car was t-boned yesterday on the driver side very hard (i was driving) . I did not hit my head on anything but was jolted to the right very hard. The seat belt bruised my neck and shoulder, but today i am feeling a bit disoriented. Could it be a concussion?

I am a 15 year old girl. I feel off the bed and hit my head on the edge of the closet door. I'm having very bad headaches I can't see that well out of my right eye and I'm very dizzy. I'm very very tired I can't keep my eyes open. Well it hurt me to fall asleep. I'm so tired.

You should definitely get looked at. Be safe. After playing hockey and football I had many.

All the other day me and my husband got into a fight and I went to the bathroom and cut myself in right above the temples and I heard popping sound what do I do I constantly have a headache now I'm always tired I guess I'm moodier

I got slapped hard in the back of th neck I can’t concentrate on my fingers and I’m dizzy, what should I do?

today ive been crying and i went to sleep after that then woke up at 12 AM and i was doing good but then my head started hurting then my stomec was hurting too and i feel like i need to throw up im 12 years old and what should i do?

Pls tell a parent and head to the doctor as soon as possible. sounds like a concussion

son i just took a concussion test and it said it was invalid and i thought there was no way i have a concussion but i did just get gnarly hit on my head about a week and a half ago by running into a brick wall attempting to catch a football, don't judge me... but i was realizing after my test was invalid that i've been having a few signs of a concussion what should i do?

I hit my head yesterday under my bunk bed really hard and I can’t tell if I have a concussion or not.Im sensitive to light,I feel dizzy,I can’t think that much,I feel like crying,and my head feels lightheaded.Is it a concussion?Please I need an answer

Here for answer
Same happened to me

Yes. You most likely have a concussion. I am still dealing with concussuon issues 11 months later due to the severity of mine. You will go through a range of emotions. The most important thing you need to do is rest with no screen time. Allow your brain to heal. Don't lock yourself away in a room. Go for light walks. Be patient with yourself. And remember, you are not alone.

Hii, I'm 20 years old. Whenever i eat something, most of the time my right side of the brain above ears make some kind of sound that really pains and irritate me and i feel like my head bone is hitting each other.

While walking my dog back in December a puppy twisted it's leash around my ankles and I fell and hit the back of my head on the street. I went to Urgent Care and ended up with two staples in my head. However, I now have a bump in my skull where the injury occurred (not on my head) and it is still quite sensitive. I have a huge issue with remembering things, loss of balance, easily confusion and several other symptoms. The doctor didn't mention anything about concussion but I have become so irritated with my symptoms I started to research and came across this article. What should I do?

I hit my head on a rock yesterday and I couldn’t sleep my head is killing me I vomited this morning I just feel really s**t

i hit the back of my head against the wall a few minutes ago when tried to lay down. now i don't have any symptoms so far but i am afraid to go to sleep. do i go to sleep or wait for the possible symptoms to kick in?

Are you it’s been a month I just hit my head please tell me?!

Thanks for mentioning that a hard jolt to the head may result in a concussion that disrupts brain function. My wife and I are thinking of taking our son to a medical specialist because we noticed he was having headaches and difficulty concentrating after a hard hit in his football game last week. It seems like a good idea to consider going to a reputable professional that can help treat our son if he has a concussion.

In 1962 I was in a head on collision accident. Seat belts were not used then. I had injuries to my knees, a broken arm and much glass in my forehead. I believe that my head hit the steering wheel. For a while I saw two blue birds going around in a circle.
Could this have been the result of a concussion?

I'm trying to find out my husband fell and hit his head the day before yesterday in the middle of the night he woke up gasping for air stood up and tripped and literally went head-first into our tile floor it split his head but not enough to need stitches I did a fly Stitch which was enough to stop the bleeding but he has been extremely tired since I'm wondering if he should go in

I hit my head in gym and now I am tired but when I try to lay my head down I cannot go to sleep and I really cannot think right I don't think but I know the date I know how old I am , I know those basics but when I have to think when I'm answering questions and stuff like that it kinda is hard Should I go get my head checked out

two nights ago i was at cheerleading practice and flipped and hit my right temple on a girls elbow. i was in shock at the moment and only hurt because i had hit it but i was fine. yesterday i woke up feeling sick wanted to throw up and my throat hurts. i’ve had headaches come and go since yesterday and throughout today. and my vision went blurry for a little about a minute after i had sneezed a few times( i don’t know maybe they’re connected?) i’ve also forgotten how to do something i had recently learned in school and have a hard time focusing. im not sure if i have a concussion . anyone know?

Go to a school trainer

I hope you got to a doctor. Those are concussion symptoms, but you could have more wrong. My daughter had vision and balance problems from one concussion and had to undergo a ton of a special physical therapy to get her eyes to work together again. Either way, you're going to need mental and physical rest, but definitely get to a doctor, if you didn't already.

Fell last night and didn’t catch myself with hands because they hurt from arthritis. Fell really hard and landed on my knee that was broken about 10 years ago. I immediately got a pounding headache and just want to sleep could I possibly have a concussion

People don't actually have to hit their heads to get a concussion: it's from the quick head movement, and then the brain shifts. If you're not sure, get checked by a doctor.

I am 66 years old and slipped in my porcelain over cast iron tub 3 weeks ago. The bleeding was horrendous and the large bump on the back of my head is increasingly painful. Is it possible to have a clot here that could cause brain injury? This much later?
Thanks. Vicki

I recently was in a accident and my head cracked the windshield it required 17 staples and stitches needless to say I have a concussion I notice from time to time my vision goes blurry and when it comes back color is not there until the next spell I also am angry all the time and I have the shakes is this normal

It might be a concussion, or there could be something additional going on. Go to a doctor, and make sure you tell him or her all of your symptoms.

Sounds to me like you need medical attention. None of what you describe is normal. I've had a few concussions but NOTHING compared to what you're going through. Your melon took a hell of a thump hitting that windshield. It's serious and you do need medical attention. SO GET IT!

Is it possible to hit your head and not have a concussion? I hit the back right upper side like hitting the garbage truck bar and was already very tired and not have a concussion? I experienced nothing else just nervous cause I have anxiety from everything

It was helpful that you mentioned in your article how it is important to remember that symptoms of concussions point to getting lost or easily confused alongside feeling tired all of the time. My spouse and I noticed that our son got quite hurt during his last football game and does not seem himself. I'll be sure to get into contact with a medical specialist to see how they could be of assistance.

A few months ago while playing basketball with my nephew I for no reason started falling while guarding him and an uncontrollable force built up and I could prevent from going forward (against the force) and fell face first, I was embarrassed, but I don't think he noticed. and the other day I was going to visit my Mom and walking through the intersection, a guy revved up his car and so just mildly mocking, I did a real quick run on the spot, and that sensation of my equilibrium losing control came back and I fell backward onto the street, and the force I felt, I couldn't control, like something pulling me down!!!!! I feel off balance a lot, going to one side and am constantly sleepy.

is it possible that having several concussions from an early age, can it affect learning difficulties. I have to do things over and over again to understand them. Some lettering also confuses me. I have a petty good IQ, but feel like a fool a lot of the time.

Yes, multiple concussions can cause memory problems. I hope you went to a doctor, though, since you could also have something else neurological going on.

Hey my mom doesn’t think I have a concussion (code for doesn’t want to take me to the doctor) but I’m showing a bunch of symptoms. The way I got hurt is...embarrassing. I was trying to show my friends that splitting a pole ISNT bad luck and I ran into a road sign like really hard because I was watching my feet (a bad habit I know) anyways ever since I’ve had a pounding headache, nausea, dizziness, added sensitivity to light and sound, and I’ve been extremely tired but can’t seem to sleep. It’s been past 24 hours and my headache should be gone by now so I really think I have a concussion. Should I push her to take me to the doctor or let it go?

There are two things that a certain from your story. Obviously it is bad luck splitting a pole and Darwinism is in full affect. I know your post is pretty old but I hope you did received medical attention because you sounded pretty well bunged.

Got wasted the other night and backflipped off a pool table. Landed the first time but tried again and slipped and backflipped right onto my head. I got right up but my ears were ringing bad and I was pretty dizzy. Kept drinking and was “fine” rest of the night. Here I am 3 days later have had a mild headache whole time and baseball sized knot on my head. My neck and back are really sore but I’m fully mobile , not dizzy , no naseau, brain feels a bit foggy but wondering if I should go to hospital or not. Also hit my head so hard my teeth smacked together and broke my front tooth in half.

I hit my head with a metal pipe that my husband and I use to loosen nuts on machinery. I was holding it above my head and pulling down in it with all my weight, it slipped in the nut and straight into my head. I fell to the ground and couldn’t move for a minute. I feel a pressure on my head, as I have a lump the size of half a hard boiled egg it feels like all my hair is being pulled tightly up and my mouth is really dry. I break out in sweats and am not responding immediately to things, I feel delayed. Er is a nightmare where we are should I call in a house doctor?

Too long a story but im in a garage and a brake disc related part fell on me, they are pretty heavy and it hurt a lot and i had a headache. But it went away.
I wonder how i didnt develop concussion.

I got hit in the head with a hard pillow and I’ve lost my appetite I’ve taken Advil (didn’t help) and I don’t feel normal. What do I do?

My son was playing football and was blocking and got knocked on the head pretty hard and is experienced a bad migraine but is fine now no headaches but dizzy and clumsy also is not really always in a good mood for no reason he has pretty miner headaches now but only outside in the it possible for him to have a concussion?

Very likely. Personality/mood changes, dizziness, clumsiness, and various sensitivities are all post-concussion syndrome symptoms. What most people don't know about concussions is that they can produce long-lasting symptoms that do not go away unless properly treated with therapy. I suffered 3+ concussions in my youth and only just got treatment for them after 10+ years of symptoms + not knowing why I was chronically ill. I went to Cognitive FX and highly recommend their treatment and their blog resources!