Signs of a Concussion in Children

Nov 28, 2022
Signs of a Concussion in Children
A concussion is a mild injury, but it requires proper care. Understand the signs in kids so you can ensure proper healing and prevent complications.

Close to 7% of kids in the United States have had a concussion or head injury that could lead to one. And while you might think the injury would be obvious, kids aren’t always aware of the injury or old enough to discuss their symptoms.

That’s just one of many reasons to get prompt care if your child shows signs of this common traumatic brain injury.

At AMS Neurology in Pasadena, California, Dr. Charles E. Niesen and his team provide testing and treatment for neurological problems in people of all ages, including kids faced with a concussion. 

Take a few minutes to learn more about this injury, including signs to look out for.

What causes a concussion

A concussion is the result of trauma to your child’s brain. It can happen from a range of common happenings, such as taking a spill on the playground, an intense tackle on the football field, or a minor car accident. 

The impact to your child’s head causes the brain to bounce against their skull, causing chemical changes and nerve damage. These changes get in the way of normal brain functioning for a bit, while making it more vulnerable to lasting damage.

Signs of a concussion in kids

Concussion symptoms vary, depending on factors like the severity of the injury. But it’s important to note that even a mild concussion can cause problems. 

Signs your child may have a concussion include:


When a concussion sets in, your child may seem a bit dazed or even fully confused. This may become more obvious when they attempt to complete schoolwork. You might notice that they struggle to answer questions or respond slower than usual.


Headaches that range from mild to severe are the most common symptom of a childhood concussion. Your child’s headache may feel like a typical ache or more like pressure. 

Memory problems

If you ask your child what happened right before their injury, they may not be able to answer. That’s because kids usually can’t remember, due to the concussion. Your child may also forget instructions you gave them or more frequently lose items.

Mood changes

Concussions can also impact your child’s emotional well-being and moods. These signs could show up as:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Sadness

These shifts may stem from the injury itself, or from having to deal with it. And as their moods become difficult, their behaviors may change, too.

Other potential signs of a concussion include:

  • Balance problems
  • Blurry vision
  • Clumsy movement
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy 
  • Lost interest in usually pleasurable activities
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Sleep problems

A concussion can also make symptoms of any other conditions your child might manage, such as attention-deficient/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), worse. 

Thankfully, proper care can go a long way. If your child is showing signs of a concussion, our team at AMS Neurology can help. Call our office or schedule an appointment with Dr. Niesen through our website to get the diagnosis and treatment your family needs.