Concussion Warning Signs & Symptoms

CALL 911 and seek immediate medical attention if a child experiences any of the following symptoms in the hours or days after the head injury.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, please call the Cottage Concussion Clinic at 805-879-4240

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Decreased level of consciousness, cannot be awakened
  • Seizure or convulsions - uncontrolled jerking of arms or legs
  • Neck pain with loss of movement, numbness, weakness or tingling
  • Increased confusion, can’t recognize people or places
  • Severe headache or headache that continues to worsen over time
  • Slurred speech
  • Repeated vomiting
  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Bruising around eyes or behind the ears
  • Drainage of blood or fluid from ears or nose
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Unusual or concerning behavior

Concussions, even though labeled a mild Traumatic Brain Injury should always be taken seriously. Concussions may cause symptoms, affect cognition, judgement, speech and balance. Children who demonstrate or report any of the following signs and symptoms below or simply state “they just don’t feel right” after a hit to the head or body may have a concussion. Signs and symptoms usually show up right after an injury, but sometimes take hours or days to develop.

Signs Observed

A witness may observe these signs and symptoms in the concussed person

  • Loses consciousness (even brief)
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Glazed look in the eyes
  • Is confused about events
  • Delayed response
  • Repeats questions
  • Can’t recall events prior to or after injury
  • Moves clumsily, problems with balance
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Inappropriate laughing or crying
  • Forgets an instruction, position, game, score, opponent, assignments

Symptoms Reported

The most common symptoms a concussed person may report include:

  • Somatic (Physical)
  • Headache or “pressure” (most common)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Neck pain
  • Cognitive
  • Difficulty with attention, concentrating or remembering
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or confusion
  • Feeling fatigue, tired or slowed down
  • Fatigue sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Just not “feeling right”

  • Emotional
  • Irritable, anger
  • Depression
  • Nervous, anxious
  • More emotional, inappropriate emotions
  • Sleep
  • Drowsy
  • Having trouble falling asleep
  • Sleeping more or less than usual

Signs and Symptoms in Infants and Toddlers

It is very common for infants and toddlers to hit their head. Concussions can be difficult to diagnose because they cannot say how they feel. Look for these signs of concussion in children

  • Bumps on the head, swelling on the soft spot
  • Vomiting
  • Irritable, cranky
  • Crying more than usual
  • Changes in the way they play or act
  • Changes in the way they eat or nurse
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Being upset easily or having more temper tantrums
  • A sad mood
  • Blank stare
  • Lack of interest in their usual activities or favorite toys
  • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training
  • Loss of balance and trouble walking
  • Not being able to pay attention

Cottage Location

Cottage Concussion Clinic Resources

Pictures of athletic competitions

Download and print Cottage Concussion Clinic resources below.

Signs & Symptoms

What You Need to Know

Safe Kids Santa Barbara County

Safe Kids Santa Barbara County

Cottage Health is proud to be a coalition of Safe Kids World Wide. Our local coalition, known as Safe Kids Santa Barbara County, shares the mission of keeping ALL children safe from preventable injuries.

Learn More