Concussion Symptoms and Risks

Concussion symptoms vary, depending on risk factors and the biomechanics of impact that caused the injury.

Most people complain of headaches (nearly 90 percent) and fatigue.

Common Symptoms of Concussions

According to our own research, common concussion symptoms fall under four main categories:

​Migraine ​Cognitive ​Sleep Disturbance ​Neuropsychiatric
  • Headache
  • Visual problems
  • Light sensitivity
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness​
  • Attention problems
  • Memory dysfunction
  • Cognitive fogginess
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive slowing ​
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sleeping less than normal
  • Sleeping more than normal​
  • Increased emotionality
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness​

Concussion Risk Factors

UPMC research, with nearly 100 published works since 2000, has shown that people in certain clusters or categories were more at risk for a concussion and protracted recovery times.

These include:

  • Patients with a history of migraines
  • Patients with a history of a learning disability
  • Patients with repetitive cerebral concussions
  • Females

Symptoms Affecting Recovery

  • Athletes who experience on-field dizziness immediately after sustaining a concussion are seven times more likely to face recovery periods of at least a month.
  • Fogginess and migraine-related symptoms occurring three or more days after the injury indicate the recovery period will last at least a month.
  • Cutoff scores from specific parts of ImPACT™ (Immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) show, in roughly 85 percent of cases, that recovery will require a month or longer.

Additional Concussion Resources

Contact the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program

Call 412-432-3681 to schedule an appointment with a concussion expert or to learn more about our services.

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