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Concussions - Symptoms and Signs

In suspected concussions, symptoms can be tricky to recognize.


Updated September 06, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

If your child experiences some of these concussion symptoms or signs during sports practice or game play (even following a seemingly minor injury), he or she should stop playing immediately and be evaluated by a health professional.

Concussions - Symptoms Your Child May Report

  • Headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Dizziness or trouble with balance
  • Visual disturbances (double vision, blurriness)
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound/noise
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Trouble concentrating; feeling "foggy"
  • Trouble with memory

Concussions - Symptoms You May Observe

  • Appearing dazed or stunned
  • Clumsy movements
  • Confusion; answers questions slowly, or repeats questions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances (sleeping more or less than usual)
  • Forgetfulness (may forget events from before or after the injury)
  • Loss of consciousness, even for a very brief period
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Nervousness

Once a child has been diagnosed with a concussion, he needs both physical and cognitive rest before he can play sports again. You'll also need to be even more vigilant about trying to prevent concussions in the future. Sustaining a second injury before the first one is fully healed could lead to second-impact syndrome, a dangerous complication.


Halstead MD, Mark E.; Walter MD, Kevin D.; and the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Clinical Report--Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents, Pediatrics 2010, 126:597–615.

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