Concussion Symptoms: Early, Late, & Severe

Learn the signs and symptoms to look for in children who may have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (known as a concussion).

You don’t have to play a sport to suffer a concussion. Kids can experience one taking a tumble on the playground or being hit in the head with a ball in the gym.

Any bump or hit to your head or body that makes your head and brain move rapidly back and forth can cause a concussion. As the nation grows more aware of concussions and the dangers they present, the United States has seen an increase in the number of reported concussions in kids.


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A 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly two million children aged 18 and under suffer concussions every year. However, that number may underestimate the impact. Most children are diagnosed with a concussion by their pediatrician or family doctor. The CDC study includes rates based on children seen in hospital emergency rooms.

While concussions are not usually life-threatening, their effects can be serious, especially if your child suffers more than one concussion. That’s why it’s important for parents, relatives, teachers, and coaches to learn the basics of concussion recognition and treatment.  The impact of concussions, can be physical and mental. Watch for depression and anxiety following concussions and seek treatment for your child..

Early symptoms of a mild concussion:

  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Can’t recall events before or after a hit or fall
  • Nausea with/ without memory dysfunction
  • Vomiting

Later symptoms of a mild concussion:

  • Persistent low grade headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion, concentration, and memory problems
  • Feeling tired
  • Sensitivity to bright light / loud noises
  • Difficulty focusing vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Changes in mood, behavior, or personality

Concussion danger signs — Call 9-1-1 immediately!

Seek immediate medical attention for your child if you seen any of these symptoms:

  • Headache gets worse / doesn’t go away
  • You develop slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • You lose consciousness–even briefly!
  • One pupil becomes larger than the other
  • You are tired more or are unable to wake up
  • Your vomiting or feeling nauseous
  • Your child will not stop crying or cannot be consoled after hitting his or her head
  • Your child will not nurse or eat