Delayed Concussion Symptoms

Concussions happen when your brain gets jostled in your skull. Changes in your brain due to the concussion could cause your symptoms to change, worsen, or even improve in the hours and days after the initial brain injury.

These symptoms can result in severe pain and other physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Concussions can disable you from going to work. They can even prevent you from performing routine activities like driving and walking up stairs.

How Do Concussions Happen?

Your brain controls your body through a system of nerves. The brain receives sensory signals from your body about its environment. It sends control signals to your organs and muscles in response to the sensory signals. Thus, your brain receives a hunger signal from your stomach and controls your hands to put food in your mouth.

Brain cells, called neurons, communicate with each other using a complex combination of chemistry and electricity. Neurotransmitter chemicals trigger the neurons to generate signals. These signals pass from neuron to neuron using charged molecules called ions.

When these signals get disrupted, the brain misfires. Since the brain controls your physical movement, cognition, and emotions, these misfires can cause serious symptoms that temporarily or permanently disable you.

Your skull contains a layer of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that cushions your brain. When your head experiences rapid acceleration or deceleration, the CSF prevents the serious damage that could happen if your brain hits the skull and develops a bruise. But the pressure of the CSF resisting the motion of your brain can damage or destroy neurons.

Risk Factors for a Concussion

Concussions happen when your brain undergoes rapid acceleration or deceleration. Some common causes of concussions include:

Head Trauma

Head trauma, such as when you hit your head in a slip and fall accident, causes your brain to shift inside your skull toward the point of impact. Fluid pressure between the impact point and your brain protects your brain from serious injury. But pressure damage to your brain produces a concussion.


When you stop or accelerate suddenly, your neck pulls your head to stay with your body. Consequently, your head snaps back and forth like the end of a whip. As your head whips around, the CSF exerts pressure on the brain to hold it steady. This pressure causes a concussion injury. Car accidents can produce these types of forces.


An explosion in a workplace accident produces a wave of pressurized air called a blast wave. The air pressurizes your CSF and squeezes your brain. You can suffer a concussion from the blast wave even if you do not suffer a head injury from flying debris or falling to the ground.

What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?

Damaged or destroyed neurons send errant signals. As a result, your brain signals will get garbled or lost, and you will experience physical, mental, or emotional disruptions.

Some common physical symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Ringing ears
  • Slurred speech
  • Clumsiness
  • Fatigue

Cognitive symptoms you may suffer after a concussion can include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Difficulty concentrating

You can also develop emotional symptoms due to your concussion. Some examples of these symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Paranoia

These symptoms often go away within about two months. In rare situations, concussion victims develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS). In this complication, symptoms can last for months or years longer than normal. Doctors do not know its causes, but they suspect patients with post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher risk of PCS.

Reasons Your Concussion Symptoms Might Get Delayed

The brain undergoes several changes after a concussion. The neurons damaged or destroyed by the pressure of the CSF will cause some symptoms. These neurons cannot generate control signals or process sensory signals normally.

Since different parts of the brain handle different functions, your symptoms depend on the location of the injury. For example, the area of the brain under your forehead handles higher brain functions. An injury here can produce confusion.

Also, your body will trigger inflammation in response to the cellular damage. Inflammation can interfere with normal brain functions. Brain cells malfunction when swelling reduces their oxygen. You can trace many concussion symptoms, such as confusion, to brain inflammation.

A concussion can also rupture small blood vessels in the brain, starving brain cells of oxygen. Pockets of brain cells may suffer damage or death. The symptoms you experience from this form of brain damage will depend on the location of the brain cells.

These changes in your brain take time. After your concussion, your brain could swell for up to a few days. 

As more cells suffer damage or death from inflammation, your symptoms may:

  • Suddenly appear
  • Spread to other functions
  • Increase or decrease in severity

Thus, almost all concussion victims experience some delay or evolution in symptoms in the hours after the initial injury.

Concussion Severity

One factor in predicting whether you will experience delayed concussion symptoms is the severity of your injury. Doctors use the Glasgow Coma Scale to rate concussions and other brain injuries. 

According to this scale, you have a mild concussion if you:

  • Do not lose consciousness and open your eyes without prompting
  • Move your body normally without any clumsiness
  • Give coherent, even if confused, responses to questions

You have a moderate concussion if you:

  • Open your eyes only in response to sound or touch
  • Have normal extension of your muscles but abnormal flexion
  • Use words incoherently in response to questions

You suffered a severe concussion when you:

  • Lose consciousness
  • Cannot flex or extend your muscles on command
  • Cannot form words in response to questions

More severe concussions produce more severe symptoms that appear, grow, and change over time as your brain undergoes inflammation.

Getting Personal Injury Compensation for Delayed Concussion Symptoms

You can pursue compensation for all symptoms caused by someone else’s negligence. You should note all the symptoms resulting from your injury, even if they appear delayed, so that you can discuss them with your doctor and personal injury attorney. Your attorney can use these symptoms to ensure you receive full and fair compensation.

Contact the Pinellas County Brain Injury Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg brain injury law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
(727) 796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
(727) 349-1728