Delayed Concussion Symptoms

You depend on your body to tell you when you have been hurt. Pain, discomfort, and other signs and symptoms are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Without these symptoms, you might never obtain medical treatment, and the underlying injury could worsen.

The symptoms associated with a concussion can not only be confusing, but they may also not appear immediately following your head injury. In some cases, symptoms may disappear and reappear, leading you to believe that they are associated with some other condition. For these reasons, it is always a wise idea to seek medical care any time you hit your head.

The Basics About Concussions

A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by blunt-force trauma to the head. Impact sports like football are a common cause of concussions, as are car crashes and slip and fall accidents. As many as three million individuals suffer a sports-related concussion every year, and approximately 50% of these go undetected.

The majority of concussions do not cause permanent or severe consequences. Any symptoms you might experience will typically heal within a few weeks. However, some concussions can lead to brain swelling or brain bleeds, which can be fatal if not treated promptly.

How Symptoms of Concussions Present

Like any other injury, a concussion can result in immediate symptoms. If you hit your head on the steering wheel in a car crash, for example, your head will likely hurt afterward. Over time, the intensity of these symptoms should decrease until you no longer notice them. Treatment and medication can help you recover from these symptoms much sooner.

Concussion symptoms may also appear sometime after the actual injury. You could notice symptoms hours or even days after you hit your head. In other situations, you may notice symptoms that come and go. 

Do not be fooled by the time delay. These symptoms are still likely connected to your concussion and should be addressed.

Consequences of Untreated Concussions

If it is left untreated, the initial damage to your brain from the concussion can worsen and cause more severe consequences. These outcomes could have a dramatic impact on your quality of life in the years following your head injury. 

Some of the ways an untreated concussion can cause ongoing problems for you include:

  • Difficulty remembering events, things, and people
  • Irritability and behavior changes
  • Ongoing seizures
  • Difficulty communicating with others

There is no way to reverse permanent brain damage associated with an untreated or severe brain injury. However, you can prevent such damage by getting prompt medical treatment following your injury.

Common Delayed Concussion Symptoms

No two concussions are the same, and the symptoms you experience after yours may be different than the ones someone else experiences. 

However, concussions are generally associated with the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue and drowsiness

Occasionally, you might experience a loss of consciousness immediately following a concussion. This is usually brief and may be accompanied by being unable to remember the accident itself. You can still experience a concussion without losing consciousness, though, so do not depend on the presence of these symptoms alone to decide whether to seek treatment.

These symptoms may appear immediately after your head injury, or they may appear later. No matter when they surface, you should always pay attention to:

Persistent Headaches

While headaches are commonly associated with concussions, your headache should respond to at-home treatment. You should be concerned about a headache that does not respond to over-the-counter medications or other at-home treatments. A headache that worsens despite treatment, or one that goes away and then comes back, can be a sign of a worsening TBI.

Vision Trouble

Similarly, you should seek medical treatment if you do not notice any improvement in your vision within a couple of days. Your vision may be blurry for one to two weeks, but it should gradually return to normal. If it does not improve, see a doctor right away for evaluation and treatment.


Feeling disoriented and dizzy on your feet can suggest a deeper, more serious TBI. While you may experience some dizziness following a TBI, it should not take long for this symptom to disappear. If it does not, or if it returns after going away, reach out to a trained medical professional.


Like loss of consciousness, seizures are not a feature of every concussion. However, if you suffer a blow to the head and develop seizures in the hours and days after the event, this is a cause for concern. Your doctor will want to perform a CT scan and other medical imaging as soon as possible to determine the extent of your TBI.

Why Getting Immediate Medical Treatment Is Always Prudent

Symptoms alone are a poor indicator of how serious your concussion is. Medical imaging tests like CT scans are essential for your medical team to get a clear picture of the extent of harm your brain has suffered. Armed with this clear picture of your brain’s health, your doctors and nurses can then develop an appropriate treatment plan.

This initial visit can also document any signs or symptoms that you are already experiencing. Your doctor can provide personalized instructions, describing in greater detail the symptoms you should watch for and what you should do if you begin to experience them. 

Finally, by visiting a hospital immediately after a head injury, you will create a record of your brain’s current condition, making any subsequent care you need more effective.

Pay Attention After Your Head Injury

Avoiding long-term or permanent brain damage after a concussion involves two steps. First, you should seek immediate medical attention, even if you do not believe you have been seriously injured. Second, pay attention in the hours and days after your head injury for any delayed symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or seizures.

If you notice any of these symptoms, return to the hospital immediately for medical care. The sooner you take this step, the more likely you are to avoid serious and permanent damage to your brain.

Contact the Arizona Brain Injury Lawyers at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you were injured in an accident in Phoenix, AZ, and need legal help, contact our Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
1221 E Osborn Rd. Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 595-5559

Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
400 Gold Avenue SW, Suite 650
Albuquerque, NM 87102
(505) 594-3621