Recognising concussion is critical to correct management and prevention of further injury.

Concussion results in a range of signs and symptoms depending on the area of the brain that is affected. It is important that players, parents, coaches and support staff recognise and report on these signs and symptoms of concussion.

Recognising concussion can be difficult as the signs and symptoms are variable, may be subtle and can also evolve over time.

Onlookers should suspect a concussion when an injury results in a knock to the head or anywhere on the body which transmits an impulsive force to the head.

Concussion should be suspected if any one or more of the following signs and symptoms are present.

Common signs of concussion (what can be observed)

  • Holding or clutching the head
  • Slow to get up
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unsteady on feet /balance problems
  • Disorientation
  • Slow to respond to questions or instructions
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness (seen in only 10-20% of cases)
  • Upper limb muscle rigidity


Common symptoms of concussion (what the player reports)

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/ vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Sensitive to light and/or noise
  • Feeling tired or drowsy
  • Memory loss
  • Reduced ability to think clearly and process information
  • Feeling emotional
  • Not feeling quite right


Any player with suspected concussion must be withdrawn from play immediately and require an urgent assessment by a medical doctor.

The Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool is recommended to help recognise the signs and symptoms of concussion.