With school sports well underway, it’s a great time for a reminder on the signs and symptoms of a concussion. While athletes can often be at risk for obtaining a concussion, they can happen to individuals of all ages.
Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head, a fall, or extreme jostling of the torso. They are considered a mild head injury, although concussions can be and should be taken seriously, thus making it imperative to recognize a concussion as soon as possible. If an event occurs that could cause a concussion, one should seek medical attention within 1 to 2 days, even if it is not an emergency.
It is important to recognize the symptoms of concussion you may experience, as well as signs you may observe in someone else. A young child might not have the words to describe how they feel, so if they mention something along the lines of not feeling well or feeling weird after a bump, blow, or fall, check for signs of a concussion. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms can appear immediately after an event or up to days later.
- A dazed or stunned appearance
- Personality or behavioral changes
- Loss of consciousness – even for a few seconds
- Seems “out of it”
- Forgets things prior to or after a “hit”
- Slow response to questions or repeatedly asking questions
- Nausea and vomiting
- Balance problems
- Double, blurry, or changed vision
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
- Excessive fatigue or drowsiness
- Trouble comprehending, concentrating, and/or paying attention
- Irritability or nervousness
- Feeling increasingly emotional or sad
- Feeling “just not right” or in a “fog”
- Changes in sleeping pattern
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that if any of the following is happening, or if any signs or symptoms get worse, go straight to the emergency room, or call 9-1-1:
- One pupil larger than the other
- Drowsiness or inability to wake up
- A headache that gets worse and does not go away
- Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
- Repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions, or seizures (shaking or twitching)
- Unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation
- Loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out). Even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously.
It is important to note that there are some steps that can be taken to help prevent a concussion. In an athletic setting, one should always wear any protective gear that is required. A proper helmet can help prevent brain injury during activity, however there are no “concussion-proof” helmets. Just be sure that if any event occurs that could cause a concussion, the person is under supervision and medical attention is sought if any signs or symptoms appear. 
 Concussion – Symptoms and causes. (2022, February 17). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/symptoms-causes/syc-20355594
 What Is a Concussion? | HEADS UP | CDC Injury Center. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_whatis.html