What Are Concussion Symptoms in Children And Teens?

A mother comforts her child in bed while an older sibling looks on
Your child will need a lot of rest for concussion recovery. Nadia Richie Studio via Getty Images

Concussions are a common injury for active children and teens.  A concussion is a form of brain injury that can be caused by a blow to the head, or a serious shaking that has rattled the brain inside the skull. 

If your child or teen has received a hard blow to the head or is demonstrating any of these symptoms, get them checked out by a doctor right away. While many children and teens with concussions do heal up and return to normal activity , it is especially important to receive a proper evaluation and follow treatment orders from medical professionals for the best - and shortest- recovery outcome.

Since concussions are a type of brain injury, not properly treating a concussion in youth does have serious long-term negative potential possibilities.

If the doctor finds that your child does indeed have a concussion, it is important that you follow through with the doctor's plan for your child to recover.  You will want to work with your child's school and extracurricular activities to make sure your child can take the time needed to recover.  You may also want to return to this list of symptoms throughout the recovery time to see if your child is experiencing a return or increase of concussion symptoms.

List of Concussion Symptoms:

  •  Dizziness Everything from seeing stars to feeling like they have been spun around several times.
  • Confusion  Maybe they can't remember what happened before or after the event that caused the concussion.  Perhaps your child doesn't understand the questions you are asking them as well as they usually do.
  • Headache  The brain injury may actually be felt as pain in the head.  This is an especially common symptom throughout the recovery period.
  • Slurred Speech  This symptom will be present depending on which part of the brain was injured.  If any of the parts related to speech was injured, then speech will be slow or slurred.  
  • Emotional or Moody  A great deal of emotional regulation happens in different parts of the brain.  This symptom may show up in your child as being increasingly irritable, sad, depressed, or just plain moodiness.
  • Can't Sleep or Tired All The Time  Sleep regulation is also largely controlled in the brain.  Combine that with an increased need for rest to recover from almost any injury, and your child may be very tired all the time, or unable to sleep.
  • Loss of Balance  This may be increased clumsiness, dizziness, or just an off-kilter feeling.
  • Nausea  That sick-to-the-stomach feeling is also a common nausea symptom.  It can range in severity from feeling a little nauseated to actual vomiting.
  • Light or Noise Sensitivity  Your child may want to avoid bright or even normally lighting.  Loud noises and a lot of background noise can also be irritating in some cases of concussion.  With this symptom, your child will want to find ways to avoid this type of stimulation, as it is a warning sign that for this particular concussion, the brain can only process so much sound or light information right now.

Fortunately, these symptoms should go away as your child recovers from their concussion.  Taking the time to heal up right and recover from a concussion ensures that your child will have the best possible outcome for their mind and body.

  

Since the brain is the main body organ used for learning, be sure to keep in touch with your child's school about the progress of your child's concussion recovery. Concussion recovery often takes much longer in children and teens.  Since this is a young persons brain development and recovery, taking the right steps necessary is critical for their brain to be in the best possible shape for the rest of their life.

A Word From Verywell

While it is extremely important to follow medical protocol during concussion recovery, remember that most youth who receive concussions and follow their given protocols have positive outcomes.

Medical professionals will often be very firm in giving advice and orders when it comes to youth concussions. You will also notice that the handouts provided from your doctor and online articles – such as this one  –repeat warnings about the importance of following protocols to heal a concussion.

Rest assured that following the protocol will lead to the best and most positive outcome. By making yourself aware of concussion symptoms, what your child should and shouldn't do with a concussion, and how to monitor the concussion process, you are taking the steps necessary to support your child's healing.

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