Common Signs of a Concussion

Concussions can happen in any aspect of life. Most notably they can occur in motor vehicle accidents, sports related injuries, falling on ice, or hitting your head on a hard object (e.g., countertop, construction equipment, etc.).

Concussion symptoms fall into different categories. Symptoms often disrupt many domains of daily functioning, including activities that relate to physical, emotional, and cognitive wellbeing.

Here are some signs that you may have experienced a concussion from your accident:

Physical Signs of a Concussion

  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to light/noise
  • Blurry vision
  • Ringing in ears
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue/decreased energy
  • Problems with balance/coordination

Not all signs may be physical in nature. Sometimes, we feel a heightened sense of distress or frustration after we experience a concussion due to the neurochemical changes that occur.

Emotional Signs of a Concussion

  • Heightened emotional state
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Sleep Related Signs of a Concussion

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Sleeping more/less than normal
  • Feeling fatigue/groggy

Symptoms of a concussion might also affect our ability to work as efficiently or impact our ability to do complex daily tasks. Some cognitive difficulties that may emerge immediately after experiencing a concussion include:

Cognitive Signs of a Concussion

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty with concentration/paying attention
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Disorganized thought

Signs Immediate Assistance Should be Sought if Concussion is Suspected:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Having one pupil greater in size than the other
  • Difficulty recognizing familiar people/places
  • Unusual behavior/speech (e.g., slurred speech)
  • Persistent/prolonged headaches that do not recede
  • Repetitive vomiting
  • Restlessness, confusion, or agitation

Most people who experience a concussion exhibit symptoms within 7-10 days. These can persist for several weeks depending on the severity of the injury. To mitigate these symptoms, ensure you receive medical treatment to manage them properly and effectively.