Many people who sustain a concussion have no observable signs, which can make diagnosis difficult. Recognising the condition often depends on the affected person reporting the symptoms they are experiencing. These can occur either immediately after the head injury or minutes to hours later.

These are the signs and symptoms of concussion:

Signs of concussion

Doctors look for the following signs in someone suspected of suffering from concussion:

  • Confusion and inability to speak coherently
  • Disorientation (e.g. unaware of time and place)
  • Lack of co-ordination (e.g. stumbling, inability to walk in a straight line)
  • Loss of memory (e.g. about the causative event)
  • Slurred speech

  • Delayed response to questions
  • Appearing dazed or with a vacant stare
  • Inappropriate emotion (e.g. crying for no reason)
  • Any temporary loss of consciousness

Symptoms of concussion

People who have sustained a concussion may also report the following symptoms:

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in vision (e.g. ‘seeing stars’)
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of smell or taste