Symptoms of Mild TBI and Concussion

Some mild TBI and concussion symptoms may appear right away, while others may not appear for hours or days after the injury. Symptoms generally improve over time, and most people with a mild TBI or concussion feel better within a couple of weeks.

Symptoms of mild TBI and concussion may affect how you feel, think, act or sleep

Symptoms of mild TBI and concussion are different for each person. Symptoms may change during recovery. For example, you may have headaches and feel sick to your stomach earlier on. A week or two after your injury you may notice you feel more emotional than usual or have trouble sleeping.

Symptoms of mild TBI and concussion

Symptoms of mild TBI and concussion
Physical Thinking and Remembering Social or Emotional Sleep
  • Bothered by light or noise
  • Attention or concentration problems
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Irritability or easily angered
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Feeling tired, no energy
  • Foggy or groggy
  • Feeling more emotional
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Headaches
  • Problems with short- or long-term memory
  • Sadness
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on)
  • Trouble thinking clearly
  • Vision problems

Symptoms may be difficult to sort out as they are similar to other health problems

After a mild TBI or concussion:

  • A person may not recognize or admit that they are having problems
  • A person may not understand how the symptoms they are experiencing affect their daily activities
  • Problems may be overlooked by the person with the mild TBI or concussion, family members, or healthcare providers

Seek immediate emergency medical care if you have danger signs

Danger signs in adults

In rare cases, a dangerous blood clot that crowds the brain against the skull can develop. The people checking on you should call 9-1-1 or take you to an emergency department right away if you:

  • Have a headache that gets worse and does not go away
  • Experience weakness, numbness, decreased coordination, convulsions, or seizures
  • Vomit repeatedly
  • Have slurred speech or unusual behavior
  • Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other
  • Cannot recognize people or places, get confused, restless, or agitated
  • Lose consciousness, look very drowsy or cannot wake up

Danger signs in children

Call 9-1-1 or take your child to the emergency department right away if they received a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, and:

  • Have any of the danger signs for adults listed above
  • Will not stop crying and are inconsolable
  • Will not nurse or eat