Signs and symptoms of a concussion

Signs and symptoms

On this page

About concussion

A concussion is a type of brain injury. Concussions usually happen because of a hit to:

  • the head
  • the neck
  • the face
  • another part of the body

When a head or body hit takes place, the brain moves inside the skull and can become injured.

It is rare for someone to lose consciousness (pass out) when they have a concussion. You could have a concussion if you have been hit on the head or body, even if you don’t pass out.

Concussions are usually not life threatening and need to be treated by health professionals.

Most people who experience a concussion will have a full recovery within 10 days to 4 weeks. Children and youth typically take longer than adults to recover.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion

Symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • headache
  • irritability
  • blurred vision
  • poor sleep quality
  • nausea or vomiting

Signs and symptoms of a concussion may not appear until hours or days after the injury occurred. Each person experiences concussion in a different way and can have one, or several, physical, thinking, emotional and sleep symptoms.

Learn more about the important signs and symptoms of a concussion.

What to do if you have a concussion

Anyone suspected of having a concussion should see a medical professional right away if any “red flag” symptoms are present. These symptoms include:

  • neck pain
  • double vision
  • repeated vomiting
  • seizure or convulsion
  • unusual behaviour change
  • severe or increasing headache
  • weakness or tingling/burning in the arms or legs

If the person is unconscious, call 911 and do not move the person.

If you think you have a concussion, you should stop your current activity and seek medical help.

If you suspect your child or teenager has suffered a concussion, immediately stop them from their current activity. You should not leave them alone and you should get them to a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine treatment and recovery needs.

Minister's statement on concussion

Read the 2017 statement from the Minister of Sport and the Minister of Health  on the release of the Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: