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Concussion and traumatic brain injury

Concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) 

Baseball player wearing helmet

Any jolt or blow to the head that causes bruising, bleeding, swelling or shearing may result in a traumatic brain injury, or concussion. The blow could occur in a fall, car crash, athletic activity or assault. Our specialists in traumatic brain injury care for children who have been seen in the hospital, emergency department or physician's office for a brain injury. 

Our multidisciplinary team helps children and their parents through every step of recovery, from managing neurological symptoms to school and social issues. Specialists on the team include: 

  • Certified brain injury specialists 
  • Educational consultants 
  • Neuropsychologists 
  • Registered nurses 
  • Rehabilitation therapists 
  • Social workers 
  • Sports medicine physicians 

Kid winding up a pitch

Signs and symptoms of concussion 

If you believe your child has a traumatic brain injury or concussion, call your child's doctor immediately. Some common symptoms include: 

Physical symptoms 

  • Dizziness 
  • Balance trouble 
  • Headache 
  • Nausea 
  • Numbness/tingling 
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Sensitivity to noise 
  • Visual problems 
  • Vomiting 

Cognitive symptoms 

  • Change in school performance 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Difficulty remembering 
  • Feeling confused about recent events 
  • Feeling foggy 
  • Feeling dazed/stunned 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Repeating questions 
  • Slow response time 

Emotional symptoms 

  • Irritability 
  • Increased emotions 
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities 
  • Sadness 
  • Nervousness 

Sleep/energy symptoms 

  • Drowsiness 
  • Fatigue 
  • Sleeping more than usual 
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep 

In infants and toddlers, you may notice: 

  • Changes in play or loss of interest in favorite activities 
  • Excessive crying (more than usual/child can't be consoled) 
  • Listlessness (child feels floppy in your arms) 
  • Loss of new skills such as walking or toilet training 
  • Refusal to eat or nurse 
  • Swelling of scalp or soft spot 

Kid with soccer ball

More information 

Concussion fact sheet for parents 
Concussion fact sheet for school professionals 
Brain Injury Association – (800) 444-6433 
Brain injury Association of Virginia – (804) 355-5748 

Appointments and location 

855-742-4878 (toll-free)
Children's Pavilion

Katherine Dec
Katherine Dec MD, FAAPMR, FAMSSM Concussion/traumatic brain injury, Sports medicine Read more
Bill Shaw
Bill Shaw MD Concussion/traumatic brain injury, Sports medicine, Pediatric primary care Read more
Olivier Rolin
Olivier Rolin MD, PhD Physical medicine and rehabilitation, Concussion/traumatic brain injury, Sports medicine Read more

Concussion Q&A

Dr. Katherine Dec discusses what parents need to know about concussion.

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