Concussion Symptoms: What You Need to Know

BrainLine
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.

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Comments (57)

I had a concussion about two months ago and I have had digestive problems ever since. I don't know if this is from the injury or from taking Tylenol around the clock (no opioids for weeks). I'm hoping you'll say this will go away soon after I've recovered. Thanks!

My dad beat me up today. I had terrible headaches and I feel bloating. I am kind of worried because whenever I shake my head, I feel something throbbing and banging against the sides of my skull. I feel like I'm gonna die. I also feel bloating and I feel like i'm gonna throw up.

I have suffered from all these symptoms all my life, so are there any more I should know about, if not, should I see a doctor. I have fallen on my head twice so...

So, the other day I was just walking home from school, and I stopped to go have fun with some kids at a playground near my house, Some kid swings me on a tire swing and I start getting nausea. Another kid comes up and kicks the tire swing and I fell off, I passed out for about 15 minutes and I went home with a migraine. Not sure if I have a concussion so if it sounds like I have a concussion just like leave a comment and I'll go to the doctors for a test.

Yes, you need to see a doctor.

Apparently I fainted and hit my head and I have a ringing in my ears and my head hurts but my eyes aren’t that sensitive to light? Should I still see a doctor? I gotta move to a different house today so kinda can’t have a concussion...

"If you notice ANY of the above symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away." It sounds like you have a headache AND ringing in the ears. Both of those symptoms listed above. I hope you get medical attention.

Hi everyone, last Sunday evening I was leading a horse, another horse charged at her and she jumped and her head hit the side of my head with a lot of force, I heard my neck go wrenchhh. Anyway I had a horrible headache and on Monday I had a headache and slept on and off most of the day. Tuesday my head felt better but soon as I started getting active I got a headache. When I’m just sitting my head did not hurt, as of today same thing but my head fills like it has a little pressure where I got the initial bang. Iv has several head injuries throughout my life but have never experienced headaches. The area on the side of my head is bruising and very sore to the touch. Question is should I just rest through the weekend and if not better should I get it checked out?

Yes. Get yourself checked out by a doctor!

Hey y’all, I suffered an acute concussion from a bottle falling on my head. Thankfully there was no cut or bruise from where it hit my head and the doctor said she saw no signs of brain bleeding (checked inside my ears, had me do some physical tests and checked my eyes and such) but I have severe anxiety and can’t stop thinking that it is. How can I over come this anxiety. The doctor did not think at all that I needed a CT scan, still offered one to me to help with my anxiety but did recommend against it due to it being pure radiation and me being so young and a female. Any tips would be helpful, thank you!

Get a CT any stop quessing help rule stuff out

I just fell the other night in my bathroom and I was reading this section. I am glad I went to the hospital I did have a concussion now I have a black eye. The hospital how ever only kept me over night. I am 67 years old and I already have a titanium plate in my right temple exactly where I hit this the second time.

hello everyone .. i have a question.. 12 months ago i was playing soccer and my friend accidentaly hit me in the head with his knee. i felt a bit dizzy and there was some liquid from my ear but no buzzing.. even to this day i still feel a mild pain in that spot.. and if i apply pressure it gets worse.. could that accident be the reason for my headaches even tho it was 12months ago ? thanks in advance

I'm not a doctor or anything, but I don't think that could be a coincidence. If I was in your position, I'd get it checked out. You may suffer from brain damage or something. Just repeating myself, I am no doctor. Remember : This is just a suggestion, so you don't have to take my word or anything.

I have had two different concussions riding bulls and the more severe one they said if liquid comes out of your ears to go to the hospital because it can be a sign of a fractured skull so yes that’s most likely the source of it.

I know this is dated; however, although I’m not a medical professional, I definitely think it could be related. The head and brain are quite mysterious, so get yourself to a doctor to be on the safe side!

i fell at the bottom of the ski slope yesterday and hit the back of my head hard, i was wearing a helmet, it stunned me , i had a slight headache but I'm really just sore all over and neck...just scared me. do you think i should be worried?

Everything looks blurry and my head hurts because I banged hard on the wall I cry constantly and walk like I’m gonna fall

Ma'am you definitely have a concussion you might need a doctor

I fell down my back porch steps on the ice last week and hit the back of my head quite hard and have a bad headache, felt dizzy after I got up, kinda felt nauseated and trouble focusing.
It happened Thursday and I still have a headache. I didn't have the money to go to doctors (it cost $50 for urgent care). How do I know if I have a concussion? What should I do so it gets better? I am 73 years old.

I know you should go to the doctor right away

Hi Ms. Elliiot, I hope you are feeling better. I would see if there is possibly family or a friend who could take you somewhere. There may be other options I'd look into, since the Urgent Care's fee is a bit steep. I have a concussion and was advised that whenever I feel symptoms to stop what I was doing. For example, if I was on my phone and got a headache, get off of my phone. For me, resting helps, but that is not always an option. To that try to take it easy, and tell someone you trust so that you are not alone. A concussion is hard and you need a support system.

I just saw that you fell in February. I wondered how you were doing...I fell last night and am trying to decide if I should. Anyway I hope this note finds you and you are well.

My brother is deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other. Confined to wheelchair . He fell and hit his head behind his rt ear. He has a lump and he says he is hearing music in his head. He also seems fuzzy and out of it .

Yesterday I had my Final for U13 Rep Hockey and my Head (Just Below my Left Eyebrow) got knocked (I think it was against another Girls Head.) It really Hurt and I had to step back from the attempted Tackle, I should have gone off for Ice but just toughed it out and didnt really think anything of it. I now have a Big Black Egg and a red spot on my eyelid. I think I may have a concussion but I am super afraid of how to tell my parents and I have no friends to talk to as It is school holiday. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

I fainted and fell back on a concrete bathroom floor knocking myself out. I’m on my 5 week of not working or driving for the first time in my life. You should tell your parents right away. Concussions are nothing to play with.

My daughter got a concussion surfing, her surfboard was thrown up in the air during a wipeout and slammed back down on her head. I took her to the urgent care, then we were sent to the ER. Then a follow up visit to her regular doctor. My daughter ended up with postconcussion syndrome for the following ten months, in and out of school, missing the opportunity to take her drivers test and get her drivers license, terrible headaches, setbacks, confusion, all because she was not treated properly. That's impossible, is what you're thinking. How can that be? I took her to all those doctors. Unfortunately, none of those doctors are trained to know what to do in the case of a concussion to get the maximum recovery or to know the right preventative measures. So, I am passing on this invaluable knowledge to you - After seeing the neurologist, we found out that if my daughter simply rested her brain for the first few days, she would not have had post concussion syndrome and would have gone on to lead a normal life for the next ten months. So, if you have a concussion, or a suspected concussion, after seeing a neurologist, and not a normal general practitioner, get complete brain rest, that means no TV, no smart phones or computers, no reading, no conversations, no mental stimulus of any kind and this will give the brain the chance it needs to start healing.
I recently hit my head on a tree and I'm nervous if I have one. Would that have given me one?
Falling face first on a ceramic tile floor in my home was no picnic. I had multiple bodily injuries, not to mention an mTBI. The mistake I made was not calling 911 and being transported to the ER. Please get emergency medical help ASAP! The ride to the hospital was too long and too much pain to endure. The sooner you are disgnosed and treated, the better, especially if you have had a previous blow to the headband a concussion. It's been 3 months. I am getting better slowly, following doctors orders to the letter.
I was riding a bike and hit my head very heard so hard in fact that I split the side of my head open the first thing to go through my mind (keep in mind I'm 12) was "THIS IS THE WAY I DIE IM GONNA DIE!!!" so I'm screaming my head off and my mom rushes over and I had to go to get my head glued shut my mom is a doctor so she did it herself she asked me if I felt dizzy I said yes and it hasn't worn off yet. My head still spins in harsh light and I have a headache I'm nauseous and I think I have one what do I do if I tell my mom she'll think I'm overreacting!!!!!!!!!!!

I went ice skating for the first time in 20 years and it is NOT like riding a bike...it is as hard as the first time!  I am (was) a halfway decent skater and never fell...just had good balance.  This time, however, just as I was getting back into the groove, I suddenly went BAM onto my back, feet out from under me and slammed my head on the ice so hard I heard a cracking sound...I REALLY hoped it was the ice and not my skull!  My first thought was, "CRAP, now I'm going to have to go to the ER by ambulance with my 5-year-old and scare her to death," but she was totally calm.  No bleeding, just a big goosegg and a wicked headache.  I DID go to a walk-in Urgent Care, and I'm glad I did because I could relax and know that it was a mild concussion, and what to look out for in the next few days.  The whiplash neck pain and allover body pain from the fall the next day was pretty bad, but the exhaustion was even worse.  Don't let anyone tell you that if it's not diagnosed as a moderate or severe concussion that you don't need to take good care of yourself, you DO...and be sure if anything worsens or new symptoms appear that you go to the doctor, or call 911 if things are severe.  TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!

I also had a fall like this and heard a crack, then felt pain shoot into my right ear, swallowed and that hurt as much.

Have Post-Concussion Syndrome and Peripheral Vertigo involving right ear.

No one in ER could explain the cracking sound or that sharp pain. Does anyone have insight as to what may have caused it? MRI showed slight swelling at base of Occipital bone.

Slipped on ice, and experienced the exact same thing. You described it so well. Went home, rested. Two weeks later, I'm getting headaches and nausea, and don't know if it's late effect or a virus. Any thoughts? Thanks.

For the young person who posted in January, tell your parents. If you don't have a great relationship with them, tell a coach or counselor. Feel better.

To the child in school if you are afraid of telling your parents tell the school nurse or a relative you are close to. Get help I am sure your parents do not think you are faking.

To soccer head blocker- you need to tell your parents or coach! The sooner the better. Maybe it's nothing, but better safe than sorry. And def more believable now than in a month when headaches get worse.

My parents never really suspect anything serious when I say something hurts they say it's just a headache or a pulled muscle but I have most of these symptoms and I have really bad headaches that won't go away. I haven't told my parents yet but any advice?

I have all the above symptoms but I cant tell anyone because my grandma will say I'm overreacting and I'll get in trouble at school because it happened when my friend tried to pick me up and dropped me.

I am a goal keeper too and blocked a ball with my face. It hit the side of my temple and I am experiencing most of the symptoms. I would recommend anyone with any/all of these to see their trainer and tell their parents immediately. The trainer can administer an impact test that will help him or her evaluate the severity and begin a back-to-play plan to get you on the field. You should not keep playing because further impacts can cause worse damage and you will be out of play for much longer.

Don't be afraid. Ask your parents to take you to the doc. It's better to be sure you are okay.

To the soccer-playing student who wrote the last comment: it's not uncommon for a young person to worry that they are going to be accused of "looking for attention." After all, adults throw that statement at kids all the time. But I would urge you to think of the word "attention" in another way... YES, you should be asking for attention. Medical attention. There's no shame in listening to your body, and wanting to keep yourself healthy and safe. Be a responsible athlete: seek medical attention, so you can be the best player you can be for your team.

I have a very minor case of almost all the symptoms above, and have been having them since I got a nice smack to head when I blocked a shot in goal with my face in soccer. I'm afraid to tell my parents though, because it's fairly minor, and I'm worried they'll think I'm making it up for attention

I had a work accident that ended in a concussion. I was dizzy, lack of balance, and it sounded like everything was echoing in a tin can.  It lasted for 2 months but they sent me back to work and said I was ok. Now 4 years later I am realizing I have memory loss and nerve damage that I can't prove.

I didn't realize till last year, which was a year after I had a concussion that it was traumatic brain injury.  I found this out from a friend whose son had a TBI.  This is a great site.  The TBI was from a fall on a thin patch of ice and I didn't think anything about it at first.  I got very confused and had a hard time in school.  The doctors in emergency just told me to rest and gave me medicine.  I wish I knew more about concussions and TBI's at the time of the accident on 02/09/2015. 

I don't ever get headaches, but I've had a pounding headache for the past two days, ever since I got elbowed in the eye at cheer. Is this something I should see a doctor about? The physical trainer made me put ice over my eye but this headache is really bothering me and it seems there's nothing I can do for it. My coach told me to not take any headache medicine or any pain relievers, is that advice I should take seriously?

I have all the symptoms of a concussion that I suffered many years ago. All my doctors that treated me  never asked me if I had a concussion that caused the symptoms. I still suffer daily with all the symptoms. Is there anything I can do to help myself live a somewhat normal life? Thank you kindly for your reply.

Should I seek myself medical attention even if it is 3 days after three days out?

Can you get a concussion from heading a soccer ball repeatedly for about 20 minutes?

Can you get dizzy with concussion?

My son suffered a head concussion a year a ago and his memory is not well yet, and is muddy. How long can it last.?

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