When Should I Go to the ER With a Head Injury?

Head injuries are a common complaint in the ER and require a quick evaluation and a CT scan to rule out a surgical emergency such as bleeding on the brain.

Signs of a serious head injury or concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Trouble walking or problems with balance

Someone experiencing these symptoms following a head injury should receive immediate medical treatment, whether they occur directly following the injury or hours or days later.

How Do I Know if Someone Has a Concussion?

Research shows that a lot of kids are experiencing concussion symptoms and not recognizing or reporting them for various reasons. Research also shows that chronic traumatic encephalopathy — a debilitating brain disease typically associated with football players — can develop without concussion and in younger athletes. Parents need to be on the lookout for these signs of concussion or traumatic brain injury.

Signs of concussion include:

  • Persistent headache or neck pain
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Balance and coordination issues
  • Speech and memory problems
  • Blurred vision or photophobia (sensitivity to light and sound)
  • Ringing in the ears or trouble hearing
  • Feeling fatigued or tired
  • Numbness
  • Changes in sleep patterns or moods
  • Seizures

Learn more about recognizing and preventing concussions.

What to Know About New Concussion Research

Signs of a Concussion: What You Need to Know

If you are having a medical emergency, call 911.