For Individuals/Families

What should I do if I think I have a concussion?

If you think you might have suffered a concussion, see your doctor right away.  If your symptoms do not improve after 3 months, follow-up with your family doctor, who may recommend you see a specialist.

Your doctor will ask you how the injury took place and about your symptoms.
Common symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Mild headaches
  • More trouble than usual with attention, concentration and memory (forgetfulness)
  • Slow, “foggy” thinking
  • Disturbed sleep (sleeping more than usual, sleeping less than usual, trouble falling asleep)
  • Depression/anxiety/irritability
  • Balance problems
  • Dizziness or vertigo (no vomiting/nausea)
  • Fatigue
  • Tinnitus or inability to tolerate noise
  • Reduced tolerance to alcohol

Sometimes a concussion is an emergency.

It is recommended that for the first 24 hours another adult watch you closely. If you show any of the following warning signs or symptoms after your injury, or if your symptoms worsen, go to the nearest hospital, doctor or call 911 immediately.

Warning Signs:

  • Fainting or blacking out, drowsiness, or can’t be woken up
  • Constant severe headache or headache that worsens
  • Vomiting more than twice
  • Can’t remember new events, recognize people or places
  • Acting strange/changes in behaviour
  • Seizures
  • Inability to move or weakness of arms or legs
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of balance
  • Continual fluid or bleeding from ear or nose

For more information on concussions, refer to the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation’s Concussion Information for Patients and Families (published 2018)

Source: Guidelines for Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury & Persistent Symptoms, Third Edition, For Adults (18+ years of age) – Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation