U of O
The Center on Brain Injury
Research & Training

Concussion FAQs

A concussion is a brain injury and should be taken seriously. Concussions can happen to anyone of any age. Learn about what happens when a student experiences a concussion, and what you can do to help them.

Below are a few examples of commonly asked questions regarding concussions. For the complete list, please visit the CBIRT website.

teacher and student



What Teachers Should Know



Common Signs and Symptoms

Signs (observed by others)Symptoms (reported by the student)
  • Moves clumsily (altered coordination)
  • Exhibits balance problems
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Less energetic
  • Headache or pressure in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Double vision, blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, fatigued, or groggy
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Seems confused
  • Forgets plays or instructions
  • Is unsure about game, score, opponent
  • Responds slowly to questions
  • Forgets events prior to hit or fall
  • Forgets events after the hit or fall
  • Problems concentrating
  • Problems remembering
  • Foggy or hazy feeling
  • Shows changes in mood, behavior, or personality
  • Just not feeling right or feeling down
  Sleep problems
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Sleeping less/more than usual

The student did not lose consciousness. Does this mean the student does not have a concussion?

The student could have a concussion without losing consciousness. In fact, very few children lose consciousness when they sustain a concussion.

The student did not get hit in the head. Could s/he still have a concussion?

It is possible to sustain a concussion without being directly hit in the head. A concussion is most often caused by a direct blow to the head, but it can also result from body actions that snap the head forward or back, shaking the brain around in the skull hard enough to cause brain injury, such as a whiplash injury. Any action that results in the brain being bounced around can cause a concussion.

It did not appear that the student got hit that hard. Could they really have sustained a concussion?

Yes, a fairly light looking hit can result in a concussion, and a hit that appears to be hard or very forceful might not result in any symptoms at all. Many other factors affect the severity of injury (if any), including angle of hit, whether the student was prepared for the hit, etc.

Is a concussion always obvious right away?

Most of the time, signs or symptoms appear at the time of the injury. However, it's always possible that symptoms won't emerge until later (or that they will be subtle enough to be overlooked, especially if the student has also suffered a more visible injury such as a fracture or laceration.

For this reason, even if the student received immediate treatment from an athletic trainer, school nurse, EMT, or in the emergency room or urgent care, s/he must also see his/her regular doctor as soon as possible. S/he should be monitored closely for the next few days.

Learn More

Questions? Contact Melissa McCart, TBI Teams Project Coordinator