Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

Guidelines for When to Call Your Child's Doctor

  • What is the difference between signs and symptoms?

      Your child does not have to lose consciousness (pass out) to have a concussion. There are many signs associated with a concussion and your child may not show any symptoms until a few days after the head injury. 

      Signs are conditions reported by other people. 

      Symptoms are feelings reported by your child. Your child may have a headache after the head injury. 

  • Common Signs (observed by others)

      - Appears dazed or stunned

      - Confused about assignment

      - Forgets plays

      - Is unsure of game or opponent

      - Moves clumsily

      - Answers questions slowly

      - Loses consciousness (even temporarily)

      - Shows behavior or personality changes

      - Forgets events prior to injury (retrograde amnesia)

      - Forgets events after injury (anterograde amnesia)

  • Common Symptoms (reported by the child)

      - Confusion

      - Clumsy movement or dizziness

      - Nausea or vomiting

      - Memory loss

      - Tiredness

      - Upset stomach

      - Vision problems

      - Sensitivity to noise and light

      - Numbness or tingling anywhere on the body

      - Loss of balance or trouble walking

      - Mentally foggy, cannot think clearly or remember things

      - Slurred speech or other changes in speech

      - Irritable or more fussy than usual

      - Acts differently than normal (does not play, acts fussy or seems confused)

      - More emotional, pehaps very sad or nervous

      - Different sleeping patterns

  • What if my child has signs or symptoms?

      - If you think your child may have a concussiontalk to your child's doctor..

      - Your child should stop all physical activities until his doctor says it is OK to resume them. 

      - Check on your child often after the injury. 

      - If you have questions or concerns about how your child looks or feels, call your child's doctor.

      - If a doctor has diagnosed your child with a concussion and you still have questions about their treatment, you may call our concussion nurse coordinator at 404-785-1111 or 1-800-785-CHOA.

      The Children's Urgent Care Centers and Emergency Departments offer care for children and teens with concussions. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.

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SuspectAConcussion?

    If you think your child may have a concussion, talk to your child's doctor. If a doctor has diagnosed your child with a concussion and you still have questions about their treatment, you may call our concussion nurse coordinator at 404-785-1111 or 1-800-785-CHOA.

    The Children's Urgent Care Centers and Emergency Departments offer care for children and teens with concussions. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.

 
     
CallTheDoctor
  • Call the doctor right away if your child:

    • Develops new symptoms that your doctor does not already know about or existing symptoms worsen.
    • Has blood or watery fluid draining from the ears or nose.
    • Looks confused or dazed.
    • Cannot see or speak clearly.
    • Vomits repeatedly.
    • Has headaches that worsen.
    • Has a seizure.
    • Complains of severe neck pain.
    • Shows progressive drowsiness or is hard to wake up.
    • Has weakness in his arms or legs.
    • Cannot recognize people or places.
    • Passes out.
    • Has a large bump or bruise on scalp, especially in infants younger than 12 months of age.
    In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.
     
 
DidYouKnow?

    Normal activities like watching television, texting, playing video games and using a computer may worsen concussion symptoms. Reading and studying can be equally as stressful to the brain; therefore, school schedules may need to be modified. This restriction of activities is known as cognitive rest.