A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.
Concussions Are Serious
Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a concussion can be serious.
Concussion Signs and Symptoms
Children and teens who show or report one or more of the signs and symptoms listed below, or simply say they just “don't feel right” after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, may have a concussion or more serious brain injury.
Concussion Signs Observed
Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
Appears dazed or stunned.
Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
Answers questions slowly.
Loses consciousness (even briefly).
Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.
Concussion Symptoms Reported
Headache or “pressure” in head.
Nausea or vomiting.
Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
Bothered by light or noise.
Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.
Signs and symptoms generally show up soon after the injury. However, you may not know how serious the injury is at first and some symptoms may not show up for hours or days. For example, in the first few minutes your child or teen might be a little confused or a bit dazed, but an hour later your child might not be able to remember how he or she got hurt.
You should continue to check for signs of concussion right after the injury and a few days after the injury. If your child or teen’s concussion signs or symptoms get worse, you should take him or her to the emergency department right away.