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Symptoms of a Brain Injury

Be aware of changes signaling trauma to the brain

Sometimes, symptoms of a brain injury will appear right away, and sometimes they will appear over the course of several hours or even days. It is important to be aware of changes signaling trauma to the brain and to seek medical attention.

If you have symptoms of a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury call 911 right away. Those symptoms may be:

  • Sudden severe headache / worst headache of your life
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • One or both pupils of the eye get larger
  • Slurred speech
  • Very sleepy and cannot stay awake
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sudden changes in vision
  • Weakness or lack of coordination
  • Severe confusion, restlessness or agitation

In young children, you may also see uncontrollable crying and/or a refusal to nurse or eat.

Common symptoms of a TBI (also called concussion):

Thinking / remembering

  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Feeling dazed or foggy
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Memory challenges
  • Difficulty organizing daily tasks

Emotional health

  • Irritability
  • More emotional than usual
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Difficulty adjusting to the injury
  • Sadness


  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of balance or dizziness
  • Blurry or double vision


  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Feeling tired, having no energy