Concussion Red Flags


The Concussion Recognition Tool 5 (CRT5) helps identify a suspected concussion with 'red flag' signs and symptoms. 

STOP patient activity immediately


Recognise RED FLAGS:

> Severe or increasing headache

> Neck pain or tenderness

> Vomiting

> Deteriorating conscious state

> Increasingly restless, agitated or combative

> Loss of consciousness

> Double vision

> Seizure or convulsions

> Weakness or tingling/burning in arms or legs

Call for immediate medical assistance if any red flags are present following a knock to the head or upper body.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the Concussion Recognition Tool 5 (CRT5)? The CRT5 is a document used to identify a suspected concussion - not to diagnose a concussion. Download here.

When should a student who has experienced a knock to the head, see a medical professional? If any of the red flag signs or symptoms listed above are present after the injury has happened, an attending medical professional should be consulted, or an ambulance called in their absence. Always remove the student from play immediately, unless a spinal injury is suspected, and follow DRSABCD as per standard first aid practice.

How long does it take to recover from a concussion? Depending on the severity of the injury, most children and adolescents take up to four weeks to recover, with the majority of concussion symptoms improving within several days. It's critical that the patient rests for the first 24 to 48 hours, which includes minimal physical activity and passive screen time only (eg. TV), if at all. 

How soon can a student return to school and sport after a concussion? A return to school and, later, sport, must be gradual, with each step taken only if symptoms are not present. Recommendations for recovery and resumption of 'normal' activities for children and adolescents is more conservative than for adults, due to their developing brains and need to learn and acquire knowledge. Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital offers a clear guide to gradual return to school and sport after concussion.

What other tools can be used to help identify a suspected concussion? HeadCheck is an Australian, evidence-based app developed by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and the AFL. It's used as a concussion management tool to help recognise concussion early and manage recovery.