Concussion Signs and Symptoms

As we discussed in a previous post, the mechanism of a concussion is not always immediately observable by a coach, parent, or athletic trainer.  Often the only way to diagnose a concussion on the field is from an athlete self-reporting his or her symptoms.  To ensure that an athlete is reporting a possible concussion he or she must have a full understanding of how those symptoms may present.


So what should the athlete report?

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Balance Issues
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling foggy
  • Confusion or memory issues
  • Not feeling “right”


What should parents and coaches be looking for?

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment, position
  • Forgets plays/responsibilities
  • Is unsure of the score or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Cannot recall events prior to the hit or fall
  • Cannot recall events after the hit or fall


It is very important that the athlete, parent, and coach recognize the above signs and symptoms of concussion and immediately seek medical attention by a medical provider who specializes in the management of sport-related concussion.  If an athlete is returned to play with concussion-like symptoms he or she is at risk of suffering a second trauma that could complicate the recovery process.  Parents and coaches need be playing an active role in keeping athletes safe, and knowing what to look for after a suspected head injury is a step in the right direction.

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