Concussion Signs and What To Do When You See Them


by: Brad Yeargin, Columbia SC

A concussion is a brain injury in which the brain collides with the inside of the skull. Concussions always are serious, can occur in any sport, and can result from a blow to the body or a shaking at the head. Most of them occur without a loss of consciousness.

Adolescents are more likely than adults to get concussions and their recovery takes longer. Athletes with a history of concussions are at an increased risk for another concussion. A repeat concussion before the brain is fully healed from the first injury will take longer than normal to recover from and increases the likelihood of long-term problems.

Recognition of and proper response to concussions when they first occur can prevent further injury or even death.

Here’s a checklist of signs and symptoms to consider:


A forceful bump, blow or jolt to the head or body

Concussion symptoms or a change in the athlete’s:

  • Behavior
  • Thinking
  • Physical functioning

What you can see

  • The athlete appears dazed or stunned
  • Confused about assignment
  • Forgets instruction
  • Unsure of game, score or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness
  • Mood changes
  • Can’t recall events before or after hit

What the athlete reports

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Concentration problems
  • Confusion


Remove athlete from competition

Ensure the athlete is evaluated by a health care professional experienced in concussion evaluation

  • Laws vary by state but can include primary care physicians, sports medicine physicians, certified athletic trainers

Inform athlete’s parents of possible concussion

Keep athlete out of play until cleared by a health care professional


Share this article

Schedule an Appointment

You might also like

what can physical therapy do for concussion

What Can Physical Therapy Do for Concussion?

Upwards of 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur every year in the United States. At least half a million of these cases involve children,...

Physical Therapy for a Concussion
Concussion Care

What to Expect During Physical Therapy for a Concussion

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 220,000 hospitalizations for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)...