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North Vancouver School District
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Recognizing Concussion (Signs & Symptoms)


A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that results from a bump, blow or jolt to the body, neck or head that causes the brain to move rapidly back-and-forth in the skull. The force of injury creates functional changes in the brain that cause short-lived symptoms of neurological injury. When managed properly, a concussion can resolve quickly (within 2-4 weeks) and without consequence.  

There is no way to know for certain whether a particular event will lead to a concussion. A relatively minor impact may result in a concussion while a higher-magnitude hit may not.

Being knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms is the first step to recognizing a suspected instance of concussion in school or at off-site school events. The translation of concussion knowledge into practice means reaching out to four main groups of people: 

Signs of Concussion (i.e. What you see or observe about the child/youth):

  • appears dazed or stunned 
  • confused about assignment or position 
  • forgets an instruction 
  • is unsure of game, score or appointment 
  • moves clumsily 
  • answers questions slowly 
  • loses consciousness (even briefly) 
  • exhibits mood, behavior or personality changes 
  • can't recall events prior to hit or fall

Symptoms of Concussion (i.e. What you hear the child/youth say):

  • headache or pressure in head
  • nausea or vomiting
  • balance problems or dizziness
  • double or blurry vision
  • sensitivity to light
  • sensitivity to noise
  • feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • concentration or memory problems
  • confusion
  • just does not "feel right" 

"Red Flag" Symptoms

If a child or youth shows any of the following 'Red Flag' symptoms, CALL 911 immediately.

  • neck pain or tenderness
  • double vision
  • weakness or tingling/ burning in arms or legs
  • severe or increasing headache
  • seizure or convulsion
  • loss of consciousness
  • deteriorating conscious state
  • vomiting
  • increasingly restless, agitated, or combative