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.
|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 decisions
- 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.