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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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.

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Comments (80)

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.

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?

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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 heat...is it possible for him to have a concussion?

So I got hit in the head playing football and I have a head ache and I’m sensitive to light I also feel like imma puke. Should I see and doctor or just keep going about my week?

my sister and i bumped heads pretty hard yesterday.. it’s been hurting ever since. i tried to take ibuprofen but it didn’t help. i feel very tired but when i try to sleep, i feel restless. the side where i hit my forehead hurts pretty badly when i touch it. i feel dizzy and don’t have an appetite as well. when i woke up this morning, i felt kind of lost.. is it possible i have a concussion?

yes, those are the symptoms, call your doctor. rest alot.

So i hit my head pretty hard around 11:40, I even bled a little. I had a pretty nasty headache afterwards and well it's 3.57 and i still feel a throbbing headache in the front and side of my head. I also noticed that I have been wanting to cry but I don't have a reason to cry. I also started feeling really nasty but my stomach has been giving me issues the past few days and I have high acid reflex so I'm not sure if im nauseous because of everything else or if it's because I might have a concussion. I felt really dizzy afterwards and my balance is slightly off but I've been a clutz my whole life. I'm not sure if I do have a concussion, but I feel off.

In case this is helpful for anyone, I got a concussion a couple years ago from falling while running. Didn't hit my head, but kind of whiplashed it. The first symptom I noticed, the next morning, was severe hunger. I had unquenchable constant hunger pains for 2 solid days, no matter how much food I ate. The third day I drove across town and realized that, for sure, something was wrong with my head. Can't exactly describe what happened but being in a moving vehicle really messed with my head. At that point I knew I had a head injury. It didn't occur to me to go to the ER because it wasn't an emergency, and as long as I wasn't driving, I was quite functional. It took me three weeks to figure out what kind of doctor to see. I called my family doctor and the nurse told me I couldn't have a concussion since I didn't hit my head. Wrong. I think I called neurology and they couldn't help me. Finally a friend told me that sports medicine orthopedic offices often treat concussions. Sure enough, my orthopedic surgeon has a concussion clinic in his office. I had to fill out a survey for them to qualify to be seen -- checking if I had the symptoms of a concussion. The doctor said symptoms could last up to 6 months, and they did. I was just a little bit wonky in the head and if I was thinking hard, I would get a head ache. (Not great for a math teacher, but I survived.) And at exactly 6 months the symptoms went away.

Hey everyone, so today at work I was bending down and banged my head against a cupboard door. I didn’t loose consciousness, I don’t have memory loss, and after a minute everything was fine. Anyway my question is, I only have a slight headache from it, no other symptoms, but I am wondering whether it was a minor concussion or not. I didn’t pass out or anything, just, kind of, face planted on a cupboard door. I mean I don’t even feel a lump.

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.

If your dad did beat you up and is not taking you too the doctor and you feel heart please go to a friend and ask if they will take you too the doctor or something.

Have you called the police? Go to the hospital. He had no right to beat you.

I don know your age or circumstances. However, your Dad (or anyone else for that matter) shouldn't be beating you up! A father should be protecting you! You should report him! I know he's your father BUT, you really must protect yourself. I'm so sorry you are dealing with an issue such as this. May God bless & protect you

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.

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