Children who suffer from a
concussion can experience a number of symptoms immediately after being injured, with physical symptoms starting right after the injury while emotional symptoms may present later during recovery, according to a study in the June 2014 Pediatrics, "Duration and Course of Post-Concussive Symptoms," (published online May 12).
A total of 235 children aged 11 to 22 who sustained a concussion completed a series of questionnaires regarding symptoms, cognitive and sports activity, and
school and athletic performance for 3 months after their
head injury or until all symptoms resolved.
While most children recovered from their concussion within 2 weeks of injury, they experienced a large number of symptoms during that time period. More than two-thirds of patients still had a
headache one week after the injury. The most common symptoms were physical complaints such as headache,
dizziness, and fatigue, which tended to start immediately after the injury but resolved over time. Emotional symptoms such as frustration and irritability were not as common right after the injury, but developed later during the recovery period in many patients. A majority of patients also experienced cognitive symptoms such as difficulty concentrating and taking longer to think.
Study authors conclude that physical symptoms of a concussion are likely to be more burdensome immediately after the injury, while the emotional symptoms often begin later even as the physical symptoms subside. Understanding this is important for caregivers and families who will be managing symptoms and helping with the child's recovery.