Brain, Nervous System and Mental Conditions

Sports Concussion Symptoms and Diagnosis

Signs and Symptoms of Concussion

Sports-related concussions pose big risks to children and teens if they don't get the proper medical treatment. Make sure your young athlete knows the signs and symptoms of a concussion and isn't afraid to tell an adult if they have any of them.

If your child gets a bump or blow to the head or body during a practice or game, watch for these signs of a concussion:

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Can't recall events before or after the hit or fall
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Clumsy
  • Confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets sports plays, routines
  • Unsure of game, score or other team
  • Change in behavior or personality
  • Loses consciousness (is no longer awake and aware)

Common symptoms of a consussion are:

  • Headache or "pressure in the head"
  • Upset stomach or throwing up
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitive to light or sound
  • Confusion
  • More tired than usual; feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Difficulty focusing or memory problems
  • Doesn't "feel right"
  • Grouchy

Concussion Diagnosis

At the Seattle Sports Concussion Program, we will give your child a complete evaluation in order to make an accurate diagnosis. This will include an assessment of their memory, mental function and balance and a neurological exam. The more information that you, other family members or friends give, the better, especially when your child is confused or has memory loss.

Depending on your child's evaluation, we may recommend a CT scan (PDF) or MRI image of the brain. Even if the scans are normal, your child's brain may not be working normally.

Neuropsychological testing may be recommended if symptoms are severe or not improving as expected. This test can be helpful to find out what parts of the brain are most affected, and if any cognitive (mental) rehabilitation is needed.