Concussion Signs and Symptoms

The Concussions Signs and Symptoms Checklist from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is used to monitor everyone with a head injury for a minimum of 30 minutes. Anyone who experiences one or more of the signs or symptoms of a concussion after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head should be referred to a health care professional with experience in evaluating for concussion.

The CDC encourages everyone to know the "Concussion ABC’s"

  • Assess the situation
  • Be alert for signs and symptoms
  • Contact a health care professional

Observed Symptoms

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about events
  • Repeats questions
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Can’t recall events prior to the hit, bump, or fall
  • Can’t recall events after the hit, bump, or fall
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Forgets class schedule or assignments

Physical Symptoms

  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Fatigue or feeling tired
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Does not “feel right”

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Feeling more slowed down
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy

Emotional Symptoms

  • Irritable
  • Sad
  • More emotional than usual
  • Nervous

More Danger Signs:

Be alert for symptoms that worsen over time. You should be seen in an emergency department right away if one or more of the following exist:

  • Drowsiness or cannot be awakened
  • A headache that gets worse and does not go away
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Difficulty recognizing people or places
  • Increasing confusion, restlessness, or agitation
  • One pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other.

Additional Information about this Checklist:

This checklist is also useful if a student appears to have sustained a head injury outside of school or on a previous school day. In such cases, be sure to ask the student about possible sleep symptoms. Drowsiness, sleeping more or less than usual, or difficulty falling asleep may indicate a concussion.

To view and print the Concussion Checklist, click here.