Special Sections » New Orleans Kids

Heads Ups

Signs of Concussion can be hard to spot



A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in temporary loss of normal brain function and usually is caused by a blow to the head, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). Often there are no outward signs of head trauma; many people never lose consciousness. Symptoms can begin immediately or weeks or months after an injury. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2.5 million emergency room visits in 2010 associated with concussion or traumatic brain injury of all types, and 300,000 of those concussions a year are attributed to sports, according to the Brain Trauma Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh.


• Nausea or vomiting (early stages)

• Difficulty remembering new information, concentrating and thinking quickly and clearly

• Headache

• Blurry vision

• Dizziness, balance problems

• Sensitivity to light

• Bothered by noise

• Lack of energy

• Nervous or anxious

• Sleeping too much, too little or trouble falling asleep

• Heightened emotions

• Irritable

• Ringing in the ears

• Loss of smell or taste

Danger signs – seek medical help

• Drowsy and can't be fully wakened

• Persistent vomiting or nausea

• Pupils of the eyes are different sizes

• Convulsions or seizures

• Confusion, can't recognize familiar things

• Loses consciousness

• Crying and can't be consoled

• Prolonged headache that worsens and won't go away

• Physical weakness, numbness or loss of coordination

• Can't perform tasks that require sequential steps

• Slurred speech

• Unusual behavior

• Loss of appetite and refusal to eat

— Sources: CDC and AANS

Add a comment