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What is a Concussion

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Children and teens who show or report one or more of the signs and symptoms listed below, or simply say they just “don’t feel right” after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, may have a concussion or more serious brain injury. 

Concussion Signs and Symptoms


  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.

  • Appears dazed or stunned.

  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.

  • Moves clumsily.

  • Answers questions slowly.

  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).

  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.


  • Headache or “pressure” in head.

  • Nausea or vomiting.

  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.

  • Bothered by light or noise.

  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.

  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.

  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”

What to do if you suspect your child/teen or other individual has sustained a concussion

A child or teen or other individual suspected to have sustained a concussion needs to be seen by a medical provider. You may also want to utilize the Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT) to help you determine if you should seek medical attention for yourself, your child/teen, or another individual. The CRT was developed to be administered by non-medically trained individuals to assist with recognizing/identifying concussion in individuals and for the immediate management of a suspected concussion. 

Link to Concussion Recognition Tool

The following steps should be taken if a concussion is suspected:

If the concussion happens while playing sports, you should also:

  1. Remove the child from play.

  2. Keep the child out of play the day of the injury and until a medical provider, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says he or she is symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.

Children or teens who return to play too soon—while the brain is still healing—risk a greater chance of having a repeat concussion. Repeat or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime.

My child/teen or I keep experiencing symptoms, why is that?

Most concussions will resolve/heal within a general timeline of 10-14 days from initial injury if proper steps are taken immediately after a suspected concussion has been sustained. However, in some cases, individuals will continue to experience symptoms beyond the "typical" healing time. In these cases, individuals are said to have "Post-Concussion Syndrome." It is estimated that up to 40% of concussions will become post-concussive.

What Is Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) is when a person continues to experience concussion symptoms past normal recovery times. There is no consensus on when concussion stops and when post-concussion syndrome begins; Therefore, it is extremely difficult to officially diagnose. Generally, PCS “starts” and concussion “ends” about 2-3 weeks after initial injury when/if symptoms remain. 

Click Here to Learn More About PCS

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