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The Different Types of Concussions and Their Symptoms

The Different Types of Concussions and Their Symptoms
Dr. Garrett Stroup. Physical Therapist in Roseburg Area.


Dr. Garrett C. Stroup

DPT, VRC - Owner and Founder

We help athletes and active adults regain control of their injury without expensive surgeries or medications, so they can keep going.


Concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury, result from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can disrupt normal brain function. These injuries can range from mild to severe and are particularly common in contact sports, though they can occur in any physical activity. Different types of concussions can have symptoms that can include slurred speech, blurry or double vision, loss of memory or balance, and changes in mental function. Although a severe concussion can lead to permanent brain damage, most people with mild concussions recover fully with proper medical treatment.

Understanding Concussions

A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury often resulting from head impacts sustained during physical activities, especially in contact sports. Symptoms manifesting post-injury can vary widely, including:

  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry or double-vision
  • Loss of memory
  • Impaired balance

Prompt medical treatment is crucial for anyone suffering from a concussion. As part of the diagnosis process, health professionals might employ magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to further evaluate the extent of brain injury. Consequently, concussion protocols are adopted to ensure a safe return to daily activities and sports, minimizing the risk of post-concussion syndrome or permanent damage. Recognizing symptoms and understanding the types of concussions are vital steps in ensuring appropriate medical care and recovery measures.

Types of Concussions

Concussions can differ noticeably by severity. Their impact varies from temporary disruptions in mental function to potential permanent brain damage.  If you want to know what are the different types of concussions or how many types of concussions are there, we listed them down in this section, simplifying their classification:

Mild Concussion Symptoms:

  • Brief confusion or disorientation
  • Headache
  • Possible blurry vision
  • Recovery: Often within days

Moderate Concussion Symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Persistent headache
  • Memory loss that lasts longer than in mild concussions
  • Nausea
  • Recovery: Several days to weeks

Severe Concussion Symptoms:

  • Extended loss of consciousness
  • Significant memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Recovery: Can extend to months

Immediate medical treatment is essential, even for seemingly mild concussions. Monitoring and evaluating an injured person’s brain function is crucial, as symptoms like memory loss can signal a severe injury. Following concussion protocols, including rest and gradually returning to physical activity, is vital for the individual’s health and safety. In all cases, athletes are advised to refrain from contact sports until medically cleared to prevent exacerbation or additional head injuries.

Symptoms of Concussions

Symptoms of ConcussionsSymptoms of Concussions

Concussions, a form of traumatic brain injury, exhibit a range of symptoms that may affect an injured person’s daily activities and mental function. Recognizing these symptoms is critical for seeking prompt medical treatment. Here is a concise list:

  • Headache: A common complaint, often described as a pressure or “pounding” feeling.
  • Confusion: Momentary bewilderment affecting the individual’s ability to think clearly.
  • Dizziness/Balance problems: Difficulty standing or moving in a coordinated manner.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Stomach discomfort which can lead to vomiting.
  • Sensitivity to light and noise: Increased discomfort from bright lights or loud sounds.
  • Fatigue: Pronounced tiredness and lack of energy.
  • Visual disturbances: Blurry or double vision disrupting normal sight.
  • Slurred Speech: Difficulty articulating words, which might indicate a severe concussion.
  • Sleep disturbances: Difficulties falling or staying asleep or sleeping more than usual.
  • Mood changes: Unexplained shifts in emotions, such as irritability or sadness.
  • Changes in taste or smell: Noticeable alteration or loss of these senses.
  • Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus): Persistent or intermittent noise affecting auditory perception.
  • Loss of consciousness: This can occur at the time of injury and ranges from a few seconds to minutes.

These symptoms require comprehensive monitoring and may necessitate an MRI or other brain imaging techniques. Early detection followed by appropriate management, including concussion protocols, can mitigate the risk of permanent brain damage.

Diagnosis and Assessment

When assessing a suspected concussion, a thorough medical evaluation is crucial. Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination and a review of the injured person’s medical history. Key steps in the diagnosis and assessment process may include:

  1. Cognitive Testing: This evaluates the individual’s memory, concentration, and ability to recall information.
  2. Physical Examination: Checking for balance, coordination, reflexes, and sensation.
  3. Imaging Tests: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or a CT scan may be utilized to rule out severe injuries such as a skull fracture or bleeding in the brain.
  4. Observation: The injured person may be monitored for any worsening symptoms over time.

Accurate diagnosis is essential to determine the type of concussion—whether it is a mild concussion with symptoms like headache and fatigue or a severe concussion with red flags like slurred speech, severe headache, and loss of consciousness. Following diagnosis, a tailored medical treatment plan is developed to support the recovery of brain function.

Treatment and Management

The treatment and management of concussions are personalized, often emphasizing rest and gradual return to daily activities. Initially, physical and cognitive rest is critical to allow the brain to heal. Limiting screen time, reducing exposure to loud noises, and avoiding mentally strenuous tasks are standard recommendations. As symptoms improve, a healthcare provider will guide the return to physical activity and regular routines through a stepwise approach.

Medical treatment may include pain relievers for headaches, concussion therapy, and counseling for the emotional impact of concussion injuries. Monitoring an injured person’s recovery is essential, as symptoms like memory loss, blurry or double vision, and loss of balance may persist, signaling post-concussion syndrome. In such cases, additional medical intervention may be necessary.

Adherence to concussion protocols, especially in contact sports, is crucial to safeguard against severe injury or permanent brain damage. Professional evaluation and clearance are mandatory before resuming high-risk activities.

Prevention Strategies

Prevention Strategies

Concussions are serious traumatic brain injuries that can have lasting effects. Fortunately, there are strategies to minimize the risk:

  • Wear Protective Gear: Helmets and protective headgear in sports and other activities can absorb impact.
  • Choose Safe Activities: Opt for sports with lower concussion rates or modify play to reduce risks.
  • Proper Technique: Learn and apply the correct technique, especially in sports, to avoid head injuries.
  • Follow Rules and Guidelines: Adhere to safety protocols in sports and recreational activities.
  • Educate Yourself: Understanding concussions can promote early recognition and proper response.
  • Strengthen Neck Muscles: Strong neck muscles may help reduce the force transmitted to the brain during impact.
  • Adequate Rest: Ensure enough sleep as fatigue can impair reflexes and judgment, increasing the risk of injury.
  • Maintain a Safe Environment: Remove trip hazards and cushion sharp corners in living and play areas.
  • Avoid Alcohol and Drugs: Substance use can impair coordination and reaction times.
  • Seat Belt Safety: Always wear a seatbelt to prevent head injuries in car accidents.
  • Avoid Risky Behavior: Understand the dangers of activities that could lead to falls or collisions.
  • Safety in the Workplace: Follow occupational health and safety regulations.
  • Advocate for Safety: Encourage the implementation of concussion protocols in sports leagues and schools.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest research and updates on head injury prevention.

Each step is a layer of defense against the potential for concussions, contributing to overall brain health and safety.


Concussions, a form of traumatic brain injury, require both public awareness and caution to manage effectively. The types of concussions — from mild to severe — vary in symptoms, ranging from blurry or double vision, slurred speech, and loss of memory, to more significant challenges affecting balance and mental function. Recognizing common symptoms early can help prevent long-term brain injury or even permanent brain damage.

OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance offers physical therapy in Roseburg, Oregon, including personalized rehabilitation services. With our team of highly skilled and specialized therapists, we aim to provide comprehensive care to individuals experiencing balance or walking difficulties, cognitive difficulties, and other post-concussion symptoms.


What are the symptoms of several concussions?

Experiencing several concussions over time can lead to various common symptoms including persistent headaches, memory loss, concentration difficulties, dizziness, sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, slurred speech, fatigue, sleep issues, mood changes, confusion, and loss of balance.

Patients with multiple concussions may also face the risk of developing chronic conditions like post-concussion syndrome, where symptoms persist for weeks or months, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a serious condition associated with repetitive brain trauma, commonly observed in athletes of contact sports.

What are the most common concussion injuries?

The most common concussion injuries, often occurring due to impact sports, accidents, or falls, include:

  • Mild Concussions: Also known as a Grade I concussion, involves temporary confusion or disorientation lasting less than 15 minutes, with no loss of consciousness.
  • Moderate Concussions: Also referred to as a Grade II concussion, involves confusion or disorientation lasting longer than 15 minutes, with possible memory loss but no loss of consciousness.
  • Severe Concussions: Known as a Grade III concussion, involves a loss of consciousness for any period, along with other serious symptoms like severe dizziness, prolonged memory loss, or seizures.

What are examples of concussion injuries?

Examples of concussion injuries can be segregated based on their severity and associated activities that lead to them:

Sports Concussions: These are common in contact sports such as football, hockey, and soccer, where players might collide with each other or fall.

Accidental Concussions: Slip and fall incidents in the home or workplace, or during physical activities like cycling or skiing.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Severe impacts from car accidents or industrial accidents that cause a sudden jolt or blow to the head.

Concussions from Combat: Military personnel may suffer from concussions due to blast injuries or combat-related incidents.

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