While they vary in degree and severity, concussions are among some of the more serious injuries one can suffer. Even though a concussion might be labeled as a “mild traumatic brain injury”, the symptoms of a concussion can be severe and extremely uncomfortable. Those who have suffered concussions are unlikely to call their experience “mild”, with some even struggling with long term effects of concussions. For the best possible treatment and to improve outcomes, the signs & symptoms of a concussion must be identified in the earliest stages possible. The sooner you become aware of the concussion, the better you’ll be able to have it treated.

Whether you have had a concussion, or you are concerned that someone around you may have suffered a concussion, we hope to make you better aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

Doctor at Broadview Health Center assessing a teenage patient


Woman with a concussion holding her head after a car accident


In our other resource page, we discussed the causes of a concussion. Knowing what the source would likely be – a direct blow to the head, or indirect event that caused head trauma – you’re probably now wondering what you should be looking for in terms of signs and symptoms that this is, in fact, a concussion.

The most common concussion symptoms are headaches as well as difficulty with memory, balance, concentration and coordination. Difficulties with memory usually manifest themselves as difficulties remember recent events. If someone has suffered a head injury and is unable to recall what they have done earlier in the day, or the events leading up to the impact it is an indication that they might have suffered a concussion. Concentration difficulties are also very common, with many people experiencing difficulties with concentration and attention. It might take them a long time to gather your thoughts, express yourself, and solve problems. It is important to pay close attention to the injured individual to see if they are taking longer than usual to answer questions or speak. Special attention should also be paid to ensure their answers are coherent and in line with what they might answer prior to the impact. Balance issues with concussions are very common and a bit easier to identify than some other symptoms. People suffering from balance issues after a concussion may suffer from disequilibrium which is defined as a lack of balance while sitting or standing. They might also suffer from dizziness, lightheadedness, or vertigo. If you or anyone you know is suffering these symptoms after an impact on their head, it is essential that they receive medical attention right away.

Loss of consciousness occurs in about 10% of all concussions and is one of the strongest indications that someone has suffered a concussion. Usually people who suffered loss of consciousness after a head injury have more severe concussions. It is important to note that the majority of people who suffer concussions are not ‘knocked out’ – so it’s important not to rule out concussion based on that.

Full recovery from concussion is most often expected. A major contributing factor to that recovery is seeking medical attention if concussion signs & symptoms are present. Make sure that you, your teammates, and your loved ones have the best possible outcomes after a concussion and get the medical assistance they need to improve their outcomes.


If the injury occurred while playing a contact sport, you may be more apt to suspect concussion. Football and hockey are more associated with concussions these days. But one can suffer a brain trauma in a wide variety of circumstances. If you have hit your head, or someone you know has taken a spill, it’s important to be on the lookout for concussion signs & symptoms. These can include:

  • Headache
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Loss of memory or amnesia
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Issues with vision
  • Ringing in ears
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Amnesia

Patients with a concussion also experience light sensitivity, sleep issues, concentration challenges, irritability, mood disorders and more.

A child with concussion may cry more, lost interest in toys & games, seem excessively tired and/or ‘moody,’ etc.

Man holding his head and showing signs of a concussion
A child holds his head after suffering a concussion


For the most part, concussion symptoms in children and adults share similarities. Issues with balance, concentration, headaches, and the other symptoms listed above present themselves in both children and adults. That being said, adults are more likely to have physical symptoms after a concussion, such as headaches and balance problems. Children on the other hand are more likely to display behavioral symptoms such as insomnia, drowsiness, or irritability. They might appear lethargic or show a lack of interest in their favourite toys or activities. Because of the way concussions manifest themselves in children, it is important that you don’t rule out a concussion in your child because they do not have a headache.

It is not uncommon for a child to be able to stand and walk around in the immediate aftermath of a concussion, but later on they will not remember anything from the time immediately following the injury. This is why it is important to closely monitor your child’s behaviour

Studies show that less than 50% high school athletes report their concussions. There is also a tendency for them to feel social pressure and deny their symptoms. They might also try to continue playing sports or other physical activities, going directly against the advice of medical professionals. In the event that your child has suffered a concussion it is essential that you ensure they do not risk another injury – studies have shown that children are most vulnerable to a second concussion 10 days after undergoing the initial one. These second concussions can be much more severe and lasting. Once it is confirmed that your child has suffered a concussion, make sure to closely monitor their activity to ensure they do not re-injure themselves.


If you have even the slightest suspicion that a team member has a concussion, it is imperative that you remove them from play immediately. This is essential as it prevents the player from aggravating their potential concussion, as well as suffering other injuries as a result of possible disorientation from concussions.

Once the player is removed from the game, a coach or athletic trainer should follow a checklist and screening test to help identify a potential concussion. Examples of such texts are:

  • Balance assessment tests
  • Brief mental status exams
  • Symptom checklists
  • The Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC)

Coaches and trainers from all sports should familiarize and train themselves in the use of these concussion screening tests. Remember, these tests should not be the only tool used to diagnose or rule out a concussion – a clinical exam performed by a healthcare professional is of paramount importance for proper concussion diagnosis and subsequent care.

A football player suffers a concussion as he falls head first on the field


Physical Signs

Concussions bring on a cluster of physical symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, stumbling, slurring speech, ears ringing, blurred vision and more. These are usually the first signs that one would experience or observe in a concussion.

Internal & Intangible Signs

Beyond the more apparent physical symptoms, many signs of concussion are things that are “felt” or displayed in more subtle ways, often with delayed effect. Concentration & memory issues, disorientation, lack of balance, trouble sleeping, sensitivity to light, etc.

Child with Concussion

Perhaps your child suffered a concussion while playing sports, with friends, in the house or at school. Whether or not you witnessed the injury, it’s vital to watch for signs including the standard adult ones as well excessive crying, loss of usual interest, etc.

a physician overlooking a concussion treatment plan for an athlete


If you are experiencing the symptoms of a concussion, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately. A doctor can further test you for concussion and give a proper diagnosis.

If you see the signs of a concussion in someone else, whether they’ve been injured in your presence or you are concerned about what may have occurred prior to your seeing them, summon medical help (i.e. call 9-1-1) or encourage them to see a doctor.

Frequently asked questions

Sustaining a single concussion, in many cases, results in a straight-forward recovery with few complications. However, for those who have suffered multiple concussions, especially when the original has not fully healed, the recovery time can grow exponentially. Take care during recovery as while you might feel better, the concussion could still need time to fully heal.

  • We utilize quantifiable concussion evaluation tools
  • We measure eye movements and balance
  • We take care to ensure your recovery is objective, not subjective

A major side effect from sustaining a concussion injury is cervicogenic pain or headaches, which is focused in the neck area. The challenge for doctors is neck pain does not always point to a problem within the neck, but could be a result of spine or eye misalignment.

  • Concussions cause eye misalignment, leading to head tilt
  • Neck pain is a flag for helping identify contributing issues
  • Our treatment is built to help protect your long-term recovery

A common symptom for those who have suffered concussions and experiencing symptoms of post-concussion syndrome includes fatigue. Fatigue can come from many different factors. However, concussions build fatigue symptoms on a cellular level from the damage sustained in a concussion, interrupting your body’s ability to build and use energy.

  • Fatigue from concussions is a result from calcium leaks
  • Other fatigue could stem from problems with thyroids or anemia
  • Fatigue problems can take some time to fully recover from

Post-concussion syndrome is a complex condition that requires a lot of care and time to fully recover from. You could experience significant fatigue, inability to effectively concentrate, headaches, poor balance, and loss of fine motor control. These and more are the result of concussion damage to three major areas in your body, which all require the care our clinic can provide:

  • Physical damage the cell wall of the brain
  • Damage to the motor systems of the eyes and balance
  • Cervucigenic symptoms such as pain in the neck

Broadview Health Centre offers specialized equipment and technology that helps us diagnose problems and treat them effectively in regards to concussions and other mild-traumatic brain injuries. These tools are a mix of physical tests and electrical monitors working in tandem to give evaluations of the body’s control over balance and motor control, giving us invaluable information on a patents condition by:

  • Evaluating the body’s ability to balance on flat and uneven surfaces
  • Balance when a patents head is turning in various directions
  • Building information on how a concussion effects an individual

Broadview Spine & Health Centre utilized state of the art diagnosis equipment to allow us to gain quality information on how to approach treatment to every patent’s unique symptoms. A Videonystagmography allows us to get a fine-tuned reading of eye movements on video and with graphical representation.

  • Helps us identify where damage is located in the brain
  • Helps develop a customized program for the patient
  • Provides conclusive evidence for brain injury symptoms

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