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What are the symptoms of concussion?

Symptoms of concussion

Symptoms are what a person feels and experiences.

The symptoms of concussion result from a problem with how the brain is working.

This means there are many problems that can arise.

These problems are typically categorized into 4 groups:






This category relates to thinking type tasks with which a person may have difficulty after a concussion.

  • Attention,

  • Processing speed,

  • Memory

  • Planning / organizing

  • Speech difficulties like word finding or word substitution.


A person may feel more emotional than normal after a concussion.

The person may

  • Become angry or frustrated more easily

  • Feel sad more easily

  • Feel overwhelmed more easily.

  • Feel more worried than normal.


This relates to body sensations after a concussion, and can include

  • Headache.

  • Dizziness.

  • Imbalance

  • Ringing in the ears.

  • Visual light sensitivity.

  • Sound sensitivity.

  • Nausea.

  • Difficulty or sensitivity with visual tasks.


Problems with the regulation of sleep may occur after a concussion.

These can include

  • Difficulty getting to sleep.

  • Difficulty staying asleep.

  • Sleeping more than usual.

  • Not feeling rested after sleep.

During the first few days after a concussion, a person may experience many of the symptoms listed above. Afterward though, symptoms may reduce in number and there may be a few of them that are slower to recover.

You might imagine this process like a big explosion of symptoms soon after the concussion, but as the dust blows away and the debris settles over the first few days, you will notice a few key piles of debris are let over to clean up.

With concussion, we must realize that each person will have a unique combination and severity of symptoms. This means one person can have a combination of mild sleep problems and moderate difficulties regulating emotion, while another person may struggle with significant memory problems and mild dizziness, and yet another person may experience mild symptoms from all 4 categories.

Each person recovering from a concussion will have a unique combination of

  • Type of symptoms.

  • Number of symptoms.

  • Severity of each symptom.

  • Duration of each symptom.

Some say “concussions are like snowflakes” or “If you’ve seen one concussion --- then you’ve seen one concussion.”

Concussions symptoms can present in many ways, but hopefully this review will help you understand what to look for if you think someone you know may have sustained a concussion.


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