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Heads Up! FREE Online Training for Youth 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?

heads up training logoGood news! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners have developed the FREE Heads Up: Concussion in Youth 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.

Complete the FREE training today by visiting: www.cdc.gov/Concussion.

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.


Reduce the Incidence and Effects of Concussion

The Facts: 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 mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.

A repeat concussion that happens before the brain fully recovers from the first can result in brainswelling, permanent brain damage, and even death. This is called “second impact syndrome.”

brain injury association sports and concussion graphic



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 Emergency Symptoms).

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:

✓ Headache

✓ Dizziness

✓ Problems sleeping

✓ Imbalance/incoordination

✓ Fatigue

✓ Sensitivity to light or noise

✓ Difficulty remembering or concentrating

✓ Difficulty thinking clearly

✓ Word-finding difficulty

✓ Irritability/moodiness/impulsiveness

✓ Feeling depressed or anxious

Any athlete having post-concussion symptoms should be evaluated and followed by a physician until all the symptoms resolve.

Read this comprehensive article on Concussions (Head Games) in Neurology Now Magazine

"The result? Some kids-especially boys-won't admit they've been injured because they don't want to appear weak or be taken out of games. Other kids, sometimes along with the adults supervising them, don't even realize they have had a concussion. They don't understand the connection between Sally's fall off the horse and the fact that she's having trouble in school, Dr. Kelly says. No one says, 'My God, this is a brain injury.'"


Click here to read the full article

Free CDC Tool Kits for Athletes, Parents, Coaches, Athletic Directors!!!

heads up youth sportsHeads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports

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 mild bump or blow to the head 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: Concussion in Youth Sports” initiative to offer information about concussions—a type of traumatic brain injury—to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. The “Heads Up” initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion. Click on the picture to view, download or order this tool kit from the CDC Website.


Heads Up: Free CDC Tool Kit on Concussion for High School Coaches!

heads up concussion logoConcussions can happen to any athlete—male or female—in any sport. Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), caused by a blow or jolt to the head that can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. Coaches, athletic directors and trainers play a key role in helping to prevent concussion and in managing it properly if it occurs.

To learn more about concussion or MTBI and/or for more information on CDC’s TBI-related educational materials, research, and programs, please visit CDC’s Injury Center on the Web at www.cdc.gov/injury. For questions, please contact CDC toll-free at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)

For more information on brain injury call our Toll-Free Helpline: 1-877-856-1772