Concussion - Patient Education and Resources

Concussion - Patient Education and Resources

Tips and information on concussion symptoms, concussion recovery and more from the Concussion care team at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Make an appointment


Concussion facts

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild brain injury. It is one of the most common injuries after a fall, crash or blow to the head.

What causes a concussion?

Many concussions are caused by:

  • Falls
  • Car crashes
  • Being struck on the head
  • Sports and recreational injuries

 Three things to know about concussions

  • Concussions can be hard to diagnose and treat.
  • If a concussion isn’t properly diagnosed and treated, it may  lead to life-long physical, cognitive (thinking) and psychological effects.
  • Proper management is key to safe return to sports, school, work and other activities.

Get the Stats on Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States

Concussion signs and symptoms

Symptoms of concussion can be mild or severe. They usually fall into four categories:

Thinking/remembering (cognitive)

  • Feeling slowed down
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble thinking clearly
  • Trouble remembering new information


  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on)
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Feeling tired, having no energy
  • Fuzzy or blurry vision
  • Dizziness or balance problems

Emotional/mood (Behavioral)


  • Sad
  • Irritable
  • Overly emotional
  • Nervous or anxious


  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep

Tips for recovery

Relative Rest

"Relative Rest" is very important after a concussion. It helps the brain heal. Ignoring your symptoms and trying to "tough it out" often makes symptoms worse, and may prolong recovery time.  

Healing takes time, so be patient. Your doctor will help you decide when you should return to work, school or other activities. If your symptoms come back or you notice new symptoms as you become more active, this is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard.  

As the days go by, most people gradually begin to feel better.

Tips to help you get better:

  • Get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day.
  • Avoid activities that are physically demanding (e.g., sports, working-out) or require a lot of concentration (e.g., sustained computer use, video games).
  • Ask your doctor when you can begin to safely return to your usual activities.

Returning to regular activity

After you’ve had a concussion, you may have a higher chance of having another concussion. In Your recovery phase should include  being symptom-free:

  • At rest
  • With full cognitive activities (such as school and work)
  • With full physical activities (such as sports, working and driving)

Resources for parents

As a parent, you play a big role in your child’s recovery from a concussion. You can best watch your child symptoms. Tell your child’s doctor about any changes. See the links below for more details.

Contact us

Fax: 717-531-3784
Academic Office717-531-6403