Concussion in children

The signs and symptoms of a Concussion

When people hear the word concussion they usually imagine a person unconscious on a sports field somewhere. What many people don’t know is that a person doesn’t need to be knocked unconscious to get a concussion.

A concussion is a mild trauma to the brain that can be caused from a knock to the head or even whiplash. A sudden change in direction causes a disruption to part of the brain known as the reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS is located in the middle of your brain and helps regulate your sense of awareness and consciousness.
child climbing tree

During a concussion, your brain is moved out of its normal position for a short time. This movement disrupts the electrical activities of the brain cells that make up the RAS.

Children get up to all sorts of things and at some point will bang their head. It is important for parents to know the signs and symptoms of a concussion and when you need to react.

As a parent it is impossible to know the symptoms of every possible illness known to man, but spotting the signs and symptoms of a concussion are not too difficult to grasp. You are basically looking for any changes in your child’s behaviour.

It is important to observe your child after a bump, you are looking out for:

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Answers questions really slowly
  • Repeats Questions
  • Can’t recall events prior to or after the bump
  • Losses consciousness for even a short period of time
  • Any type of personality change
  • Forgets scheduled events or tasks


Listen to your child as he may report symptoms such as:

  • Headache or the feeling of pressure his head
  • Feeling dizzy or struggling to balance
  • Feeling constantly tired or lethargic
  • Blurry or double vision
  • New sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Feeling like everything is moving slowly or hazy


Some children will display symptoms of a concussion immediately following a bump on the head, others will seem fine and develop symptoms a few days later, this is why it is important to continue observing your child and asking him questions.

Each child is different and will display a different combination of symptoms, if you notice anything different about your child after a bump on the head, contact a medical professional. Parents have a special sense when it comes to knowing something is wrong with their son or daughter, listen to this sense when it comes to head trauma.

After a bump on the head it is important to keep your child calm, this is easier said than done, I know. Activities that involve concentration or are very physical should be avoided. The brain needs time to recover.

The majority of concussions do not require emergency medical attention but if you spot any of the following symptoms or a worsening of the following, contact medical personnel immediately:

  • One Pupil larger than the other
  • Severe drowsiness or cannot be woken
  • A severe headache that cannot be controlled using Paracetamol
  • Weakness or numbness and decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or Seizures
  • Difficulty recognising familiar people or things
  • Increased confusion, restlessness or agitation
  • Unusual behaviour or mental confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fluids coming from ears or nose
  • Deafness is one or both ears
  • Any changes in sleep pattern – difficulty getting to sleep, sleeping more than usual

If in doubt contact a medical professional who will able to advise you on what action to take. It’s always better to ask the question.

This Guest Post was written by Vicki Power on behalf of Pannone. Pannone law firm specialise in Personal Injury and Head injuries.

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