Are There Delays in Concussion Symptoms?

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Sometimes people ask me, “Is there a delay in concussion symptoms?” Well, there certainly can be.

Some people may have loss of consciousness or dizziness at the scene of a car crash or right after a sports injury. Obviously, those are symptoms of a brain injury that are immediate. However, there are two main reasons why symptoms may be delayed for days or weeks.

Why symptoms may be delayed

The first main reason is because you might be experiencing a more severe injury that might be preoccupying your mental ability to notice other symptoms that you’re experiencing as well. If you have a broken arm or a broken ankle or you need surgery, that is going to be your focus. You’re not going to be worried about multitasking until a month later, when you try to get back to work.

A lot of people tell me after they have been in a car crash that they feel like they’ve been hit by a bus. And that is 100% true. It’s like every muscle in your body was tensed due to the stress and due to the adrenaline. And a day or two after the car crash, you just have no other ability but to lie in bed. That’s perfectly normal and understandable.

Which part of your brain was injured?

There is another main reason why people may not experience or notice concussion symptoms right away. It could depend on what part of your brain was injured.

Let’s say that the part of your brain that deals with short-term memory and word finding and multitasking was injured. In that case, you’re not going to experience that until you try to return to work, and that may be two or three or four weeks down the road. And during that time, the injury in your brain has continued to develop.

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