Concussion

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of a concussion can range from mild to severe. They can include:

    • Altered level of consciousness (drowsy, hard to arouse, or similar changes)
    • Confusion, feeling spacey, or not thinking straight
    • Headache
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Memory loss (amnesia) of events before the injury or immediately after
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Seeing flashing lights
    • Feeling like you have "lost time"

    The following are emergency symptoms of a concussion. Seek immediate medical care if there are:

    • Changes in alertness and consciousness
    • Convulsions (seizures)
    • Muscle weakness on one or both sides
    • Persistent confusion
    • Persistent unconsciousness (coma)
    • Repeated vomiting
    • Unequal pupils
    • Unusual eye movements
    • Walking problems

    Head injuries that result in concussion often are associated with injury to the neck and spine. Take particular care when moving patients who have had a head injury.

    While recovering from a concussion, you may:

    • Be withdrawn, easily upset, or confused
    • Have a hard time with tasks that require remembering or concentrating
    • Have mild headaches
    • Be less tolerant of noise

    Signs and tests

    The doctor will perform a physical exam and check your nervous system. There may be changes in your pupil size, thinking ability, coordination, and reflexes.

    Tests that may be performed include:

    • EEG (brain wave test) may be needed if seizures continue
    • Head CT scan
    • MRI of the head