Signs and Symptoms
Signs are apparent to those conducting an assessment, while symptoms are findings the athlete will describe he/she is feeling. Athletes with potential head injury must be monitored acutely for signs and symptoms that may be delayed or do not appear for hours or several days post-injury.
Acute Hallmark Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion
- Traumatic or repeated blows/hits to head
- Dizziness/Unsteady Gait
- Visual disturbances
Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion
- Prior History of head injury (risk factor)
- Loss of Consciousness
- Amnesia (loss of memory)
- Confusion or disorientation
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Headache (persistent, crescendo)
- Coordination Disturbance
- Unsteady Gait
- Answers questions slowly/Asks repeated questions
- Feeling mentally “foggy” or "Slowed down"
- Sensitivity to Light or Noise
- Visual disturbances
- Blurred Field of View
- Uncoordinated Eye movement
- Alterted Pupillary Reflexes
- Sleep disturbances
- Sleeping less or more than normal
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Emotional changes
- More emotional/Sadness
Loss of Consciousness (LOC)
- Concussions can occur without LOC
- Only 9% of concussions involve LOC.
- The length of LOC needs to be timed as it is used in concussion grading
- Observation of LOC at the time of concussion must be viewed as reflecting a potentially worrisome traumatic brain injury.
- LOC followed by additional acute neurological status abnormalities, i.e. seizures, posturing movements, may indicate intracranial pathology.
- Lack of LOC during a sports-related conucssion should not be considered indicative of a concussion of lesser severity.
Amnesia (Loss of Memory)Retrograde Amnesia
- Loss of memory of events immediately preceding injury.
- Typically affects short-term memory centers
- Can be determined via questions relating to daily events, time, location, score, time & content of pre-game meal, play assignment.
Post-Traumatic Amnesia (PTA)
- Lack of memory for events including questioning post-injury, assistance exiting field, final win/loss, showering/dressing after game, or departing event/ride home.
- Often last to resolve of all post-traumatic symptoms
- Calculation of total amnestic time is important in grading a concussion
- Only 24% of concussions involve posttraumatic amnesia.
- Those who experience immediate amnesia have more persistent symptoms than the small minority who briefly lose consciousness.
- Presence of post-traumatic amnesia, at time of injury, indicates a more involved injury and demands immediate, without question, cessation of athletic activity that day.
Concussion Symptom Inventory (print this form)