The signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be subtle. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens.

Those who have had a concussion in the past are also at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another concussion.

Common Concussion Signs and Symptoms
Observed Symptoms Physical Symptoms Cognitive/Emotional Symptoms
Appears Dazed or Confused Headache or “pressure” in head Difficulty thinking clearly
Confused about events Nausea or vomiting Difficulty concentrating
Repeats questions Dizziness or balance problems Feeling sluggish hazy
Answers questions slowly Fatigue or feels tired Feeling foggy
Can’t recall events prior to the injury Blurred vision or double vision Irritable or more emotional
Can’t recall events after the injury Sensitive to light or noise Changes in sleep patterns
Forgets assignment or schedule Numbness or tingling Sad or nervous (new)

Other Signs & Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisionsInformation_for_Parents
  • Slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading
  • Getting lost or easily confused
  • Loses balance, drops things, trips
  • Feeling tired all of the time, having no energy or motivation
  • Urge to vomit  or feeling nauseous
  • Loss of sense of smell or sense of taste
  • Ringing in the one or both ears

Signs & Symptoms in Infants & Children:

Children with a brain injury can have the same symptoms as adults, but it is often harder for them to let others know how they feel.

Call your child’s doctor if you notice any of these symptoms after injury:

  • Tiredness or listlessness
  • Irritability or crankiness (will not stop crying or cannot be consoled)
  • Changes in eating (will not eat or nurse)
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in the way the child plays
  • Changes in performance at school
  • Lack of interest in favorite toys or activities
  • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training
  • Loss of balance or unsteady walking
  • Nausea and Vomiting

If you think you or someone you know has a TBI, contact your health care provider. Your health care provider can refer you to a neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, or specialist in rehabilitation (such as a speech pathologist). Getting help soon after the injury by trained specialists may speed recovery.