Concussion Information and Protocol

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • What is a concussion?

    A concussion is a brain injury that:
    • Is caused by a blow to the head or body, from contact with another player, hitting a hard surface such as the ground, ice or floor, or being hit by a piece of equipment.
    • Can change the way your brain normally works.
    • Can range from mild to severe.
    • Presents itself differently for each athlete.
    • Can occur during practice or competition in ANY sport.
    • Can happen even if you do not lose consciousness.
  • What are the symptoms of a concussion?

    You can’t see a concussion, but you might notice some of the symptoms right away. Other symptoms can show up hours or days after the injury.
    Concussion symptoms include:
    • Amnesia
    • Confusion
    • Headache
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Balance problems or dizziness
    • Double or fuzzy vision
    • Sensitivity to light or noise
    • Nausea (feeling that you might vomit)
    • Feeling sluggish, foggy or groggy
    • Feeling unusually irritable
    • Concentration or memory problems (forgetting game plays, facts, meeting times)
    • Slowed reaction time
    Exercise or activities that involve a lot of concentration, such as studying, working on the computer, or playing video games may cause concussion symptoms (such as headache or tiredness) to reappear or get worse.
  • How can I prevent a concussion?

    Basic steps you can take to protect yourself from concussion:
    • Do not initiate contact with your head or helmet. You can still get a concussion if you are wearing a helmet.
    • Avoid striking an opponent in the head. Undercutting, flying elbows, stepping on a head, checking an unprotected opponent, and sticks to the head all cause concussions.
    • Follow your athletics department’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
    • Practice good sportsmanship at all times.
    • Practice and perfect the skills of the sport.
  • What should I do if I think I have a concussion?

    • Don’t hide it. Tell your athletic trainer, coach, and parents. Never ignore a blow to the head. Also, tell your athletic trainer and coach if one of your teammates might have a concussion. Sports have injury timeouts and player substitutions so that you can get checked out.
    • Report it. Do not return to participation in a game, practice or other activity with symptoms. The sooner you get checked out, the sooner you may be able to return to play.
    • Get checked out. Your physician, athletic trainer, or health care professional can tell you if you have had a concussion and when you are cleared to return to play. A concussion can affect your ability to perform everyday activities, your reaction time, balance, sleep, and classroom performance.
    • Take time to recover. If you have had a concussion, your brain needs time to heal. While your brain is still healing, you are much more likely to have a repeat concussion. In rare cases, repeat concussions can cause permanent brain damage, and even death. Severe brain injury can change your whole life.
  • Return to Play Protocol

    • Day 1: 15 minutes of light cardio: jogging, stationary bike, etc.
    • Day 2: 15-20 minutes of sport specific drills without contact.
    • Day 3: Practice normal sport specific drills with light contact.
    • After the 3rd day, if the athlete has no recurring signs and symptoms of a concussion, they are cleared to return to full play/practice on the 4th day.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2023
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