Skip links and keyboard navigation

Concussion: Know the warning signs

Wednesday 19 April 2017

A human brain
If you suspect someone has a concussion, it’s a good idea to take them to a hospital.

We all tend to forget things at times, but sometimes it it may be an unwelcome sign of something more serious.

Concussion is the most common type of minor head injury. Do you know the warning signs?

When someone cops a knock to the head, their brain can move around and hit the skull or facial bones, potentially causing bruising to the brain.

Some people also experience a brief loss of consciousness, commonly referred to as a ‘blackout’.

Key signs of concussion to watch out for include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • mild dizziness and loss of balance
  • answering questions slowly
  • poor concentration
  • slurred speech
  • confusion about where the person is and what’s happened

If you suspect someone has a concussion, it’s a good idea to take them to a hospital Emergency Department so they can be assessed and closely monitored. This usually takes up to four hours.

A doctor will determine if a patient has a simple concussion or a more serious intracranial injury. The doctor may send the patient for tests such as a CT scan or x-ray to rule out more serious injuries.

Most people cannot remember events before or after their head injury. It can take the brain some time to recover, including feeling more tired than usual.

If an injured person is discharged from hospital in the evening, make sure they are woken several times during the night and do an activity that ensures that they can walk and talk.

Return the patient to the hospital Emergency Department if they develop further symptoms including weakness of the arms or legs, slurred speech, blurred or double-vision.

For more details on minor head injuries and concussion, visit our minor head injury fact sheet.

Last updated: 23 August 2017