Concussions | Symptoms and Causes

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What causes concussions in children?

Children can get a concussion from any hard hit to the head, neck, face, or body. Some of the most common causes of concussion in children include:

  • falls
  • sports injuries
  • motor vehicle accidents 
  • being hit by an object or another person

What are common signs and symptoms of a concussion?

As a parent, it’s important to recognize possible signs and symptoms of a concussion, especially since younger children may not be able to tell you how they’re feeling.

Possible signs and symptoms include:

  • being slow to respond
  • headache
  • changes in sleep habits, such as sleeping more or less than usual
  • changes in play habits
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • trouble concentrating, remembering or paying attention
  • changes in eating habits
  • persistent crying or crankiness

If your child has any of the following symptoms after a fall or hit, seek emergency care right away: 

  • trouble with balance or walking 
  • excessive vomiting 
  • slurred speech 
  • extreme tiredness or trouble being awakened
  • seizures or convulsions 
  • loss of consciousness (passing out) for longer than 1 minute
  • one pupil (black center of the eye) is larger than the other
  • problems with balance or coordination

How do I know if my child needs to see a specialist?

Some children with a concussion need more specialized treatment. If your child is not getting better — or is feeling worse — after a few days, you should ask for a referral to a specialist. 

At Boston Children’s Hospital, we’re experts at treating children with all types of concussions in our Department of Neurology and Sports Medicine Division.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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