Recognizing concussion symptoms in children and young adults

Palmer - Pic (Alejandro Aponte) - 9-8-20

Recognizing concussion symptoms in children and young adults

By Alejandro Aponte, D.C., Faculty Clinician, Palmer Chiropractic Clinics

While most of the population is aware of concussions, not all know how to recognize concussion symptoms. As chiropractors, we can often manage patients with concussions and the associated symptoms.

A concussion is considered a mild traumatic brain injury caused by an impact to the head or neck, or a hit to the body with enough force that the brain can be affected. Due to their developing brain, children are more susceptible to having persistent post-concussive symptoms. Many of the symptoms are difficult to detect. 

Symptoms of a concussion include unequal pupil size (anisocoria), confusion, moodiness, irritability, gaps in memory, poor concentration, behavior changes, difficulty falling asleep, dizziness, abnormal balance or gait, new persistent headache especially when accompanied by sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting and loss of consciousness, though not all symptoms needs to be present. Concussion symptoms can last for a couple of days, weeks, months or longer. 

It’s important to recognize these symptoms and not allow an athlete to return to play until cleared by their treating physician and all symptoms from the concussion are resolved. If an athlete returns to play before the brain has recovered, a concussion can become a more serious traumatic brain injury and turn into a serious medical emergency like “Second Impact Syndrome,” which can result in permanent damage to the brain, or even death. It’s important to note that these conditions are rare, but they can happen. Early detection  helps in the successful management of a patient with concussion symptoms.

At the Palmer Chiropractic Clinics, our doctors of chiropractic can help. After conducting a thorough history and examination, depending on the severity of the symptoms, we make referrals to the appropriate specialist or emergency department. Our goal is to help navigate the athlete and his/her family through the recovery process.

We’re trained to examine concussion symptoms, help with cognitive-training exercises, balance-training exercises and sport-specific exercises to help athletes return to pre-concussion status. We help manage all the other symptoms that can accompany the concussion such as neck pain, headaches, muscle spasms and back pain. It’s always recommended that athletes have a comprehensive sports examination before the start of the season to have a record of the athlete’s pre-concussive status. This information will help determine what is normal for the patient and what the treatment goals should be if the athlete was to suffer a concussion.

 To make an appointment at the Palmer Chiropractic Clinics, call 386-763-2718 or visit for more information. There is a Palmer Chiropractic Clinic located at 4705 S. Clyde Morris Blvd. in Port Orange.


  • Claire D.JohnsonDC, MSEd, DACBSP, Bart N.GreenDC, MSEd, DACBSP, Robert C.NelsonDC, DACBSP, BillMoreauDC, DACBSP, DustinNabhanDC, DACBS  

Chiropractic and concussion in sport: a narrative review of the literature                           Journal of Chiropractic Medicine Volume 12, Issue 4, December 2013, Pages 216-229


  • McCrory P, Meeuwisse W, Dvorak J, et al.

Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016

Br J Sports Med Published Online First April 26, 2017

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