A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. It is caused by a blow to the head or to the body that puts large forces on the brain. Common causes of concussions include car or ATV crashes, falls (especially from playground equipment or bikes), and sports-related collisions (with other athletes, the ball, the ground, or equipment). 

Concussion symptoms improve or resolve by 7 to 10 days in most patients. However, for reasons that are not well understood, children and adolescents may need more time to recover. A concussion can have many different symptoms. These include:

  • Headache, dizziness, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity
  • Cognitive changes (loss of consciousness, amnesia after the injury, confusion, feeling “in a fog,” slowed reaction times, and a change in the ability to focus)
  • Emotional symptoms (mood swings, depression, anxiety)
  • Behavioral changes (irritability, change in appetite, change in personality)Sleep disturbance

If a concussion is suspected, the child should be evaluated by a trained medical provider who is familiar with concussions. The child should stop activity right away and should not resume activity until they are evaluated and cleared by a medical professional. There is a step-by-step process to return to daily activities, school and sports. The primary care provider, athletic trainer, sports medicine provider or neurologist will monitor symptoms and make treatment recommendations. 

For sports-related concussion information, please click here

Additional Concussion Resources

  • Reliable change in postconcussive symptoms and its functional consequences among children with mild traumatic brain injury
  • Longitudinal trajectories of postconcussive symptoms in children with mild traumatic brain injuries and their relationship to acute clinical status