CDC HEADS UP: CONCUSSIONS IN SPORTS
FREE TRAINING & INFORMATION FOR ATHLETES, PARENTS, COACHES, ATHLETIC DIRECTORS
A concussion is a brain injury caused by a bump or blow to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Even what seems to be a injury can be serious. As many as 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions are estimated to occur in the United States each year.
To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, CDC developed the “Heads Up” initiative to offer information about concussions—a type of traumatic brain injury—to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in sports. “Heads Up” provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion. Click on the picture to view, download or access training from the CDC Website.
HEADS-UP ON CONCUSSION: WHAT PARENTS SHOULD KNOW
Athletes often return to competition too soon following concussions. Repeated concussions that occur without full recovery from one to the next can result in potentially fatal brain swelling, called second-impact syndrome. Repeated concussions over time can also result in permanently impaired thought processes and slowed reaction times.
A major misconception is that a concussion only occurs when an athlete is knocked out. However, the hallmarks of concussion are confusion and amnesia, usually without a preceding loss of consciousness. The signs and symptoms of concussion may be immediate or may gradually evolve over several minutes after the head trauma (See Concussion Signs & Symptoms).
Due to the possibility for serious medical complications, any athlete who loses consciousness or has persistent confusion should be evaluated in an emergency department. Those athletes whose symptoms seem to have resolved may be observed at home by a parent, but the athlete should be awakened from sleep every two hours and should avoid strenuous activity for at least 24 hours (See Concussion Danger Signs).
Athletes may experience physical, emotional or cognitive symptoms that gradually taper in severity over hours, days, weeks, or even months after a concussion. These post-concussion symptoms can include:
Sensitivity to light or noise
Difficulty remembering or concentrating
Difficulty thinking clearly
Feeling depressed or anxious
Any athlete having post-concussion symptoms should be evaluated and followed by a physician until all the symptoms resolve.
Read the comprehensive information on the CDC HEADS UP to Parents website.
HEADS UP! FREE ONLINE TRAINING FOR SPORTS COACHES
Learn How to Help Take Concussions Out of Play
As a coach your top priority is keeping your athletes safe and preparing them for the future—both on and off the field. So you may be wondering:
How Can I Recognize a Possible Concussion?
What Should I Do if I Suspect an Athlete Has a Concussion?
How Can I Help Prevent or Prepare for Concussions?
Good news! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners have developed the FREE Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports & High School Sports online training for coaches that can help answer these questions.
You can be prepared for the new season in less than 30 minutes. Simply go online and take the self-guided training. Once you complete the training and quiz, you can print out a certificate, making it easy to show your league or school you are ready for the season.
We can help athletes stay active and healthy by knowing the facts about concussion and when it is safe for athletes to return to play.
HEADS UP TO SCHOOLS: SCHOOL NURSES
Keep HEADS UP to Schools materials available in your office and present them to other school staff during staff meetings. The signs and symptoms checklist is particularly useful in helping to monitor a student with a head injury. The fact sheet for parents should be sent home with a student who has a head injury so that parents and caregivers know which symptoms to look out for at home.