Concussion Awareness

Every year, players of all ages in all sports receive concussion injuries during games and practice. Characterized by an impairment of the brain’s normal function and caused by violent shaking or jarring of the brain, concussions may cause alterations in cognitive function, vision, eye movement, facial movement, or speech. Contrary to popular belief, no helmet in any sport can prevent a concussion.

Coaches should be able to recognize incidents or symptoms that indicate that a player has suffered a concussion, whether mild or to the point where they have lost consciousness. The following PDFs (click on the bulleted items below) are intended to help guide coaches, parents and players through identification and post-trauma management.

It is highly recommended that these references always be on-hand, along with the Emergency Action Plan for the specific arena, field, gym or facility being used. Post-concussion management should include player, parents, physicians and health professionals who are familiar with concussion treatment.

More information is available on the Coaching Association of Canada’s website, and for a limited time, they are offering free NCCP ELearning module on concussion awareness. The Coaching Association of Canada’s website regarding concussion awareness can be found HERE.

If you are interested in learning more about concussions below is are some articles that you may be interested in reading;

Tougher Rules Advised for Athletes After Concussion (The Wall Street Journal)
March 19, 2013 – The American Academy of Neurology has released new guidelines calling for athletes to be removed from play immediately if a concussion is suspected.

Concussion Symposium Highlights New Research Findings (Lacrosse Magazine)
Nov. 13, 2012 – The ASTM’s Symposium on the Mechanism of Concussion in Sports drew a wide ranging audience of industry leaders eager to hear about the latest scientific developments on the topic.

Helmet Study is First for Girls’ Lacrosse (Newsday)
July 7, 2012 – Brown University is conducting a study to try to determine whether helmets will help protect girls from concussions caused by stick-to-head contact, and if so, what type.

Concussion Fears on the Rise (Boston Globe)
May 27, 2012 – Massachusetts middle and high schools are required to report sports-related head injuries and suspected concussions to the state Department of Public Health.

Bullis (Md.) School Mandates Use of Girls’ Headgear (Montgomery Gazette)
March 28, 2012 – Nine girls at Bullis suffered concussions playing lacrosse or other sports last year, so coach and athletic director Kathleen Lloyd decided to outfit her entire team with soft-shelled headgear.

Understanding of Concussions Undergoing Paradigm Shift (The Baltimore Sun)
March 16, 2012 – Today, concussions are front-page news, the focus of millions of dollars’ worth of research and legislative action across the country. The injury is now a priority for all involved with youth and scholastic sports.

The Fragile Teenage Brain: An In-Depth Look at Concussions in High School Football (
January 10, 2012 – According to a study published last year in Neurosurgery, high school football players who suffered two or more concussions reported mental problems at much higher rates, including headaches, dizziness, and sleeping issues.

Helmets in Lacrosse? Girls Say Butt Out (Huffington Post)
Sept. 21, 2011 – Because the games are played so differently, the question of whether to put helmets on females in lacrosse becomes not just a struggle over headgear. Rather, it reflects a deeper debate about questions of aggression and equity in women’s and men’s sports.

Testing Helps Change the Game on Youth Concussions (USA Today)
May 25, 2011 – The ImPACT tests are one tool doctors and athletic trainers can use to tell when it is safe to return to the field.

Rules Enforcement and Education Key to Limiting Concussions (The Baltimore Sun)
March 11, 2011 – Concussions are becoming a problem, and research suggests that better helmets — a popular proposal — are not a realistic solution.

Headbanger Nation (Time Magazine)
February, 2011 – In the U.S., concussions are an alarmingly commonplace injury that often fly under the radar and get passed off by coaches as a mere ding or ignored by players anxious to get back on the field.

A Case Against Helmets in Lacrosse (The New York Times)
February 16, 2011 – Although some safety advocates call for head protection in women’s lacrosse, almost everyone involved in the sport has said that its current ban on helmets for everyone but goaltenders is actually the safest approach.

Concussion Symptoms Differ Between Sexes (United Press International)
December 8, 2010 – Male and female U.S. high school athletes present different types of symptoms after experiencing a sport-related concussion, researchers say.

Keep Kids Off Playing Field After Concussion, Panel Urges (The Virginian-Pilot)
August 30, 2010 – New guidelines recommend that athletes be restricted from sports until symptoms disappear, and that other physical and brain-engaging activities also be curtailed. Doing homework, using a computer, even playing video games and watching TV can worsen the symptoms.

Clinical Report—Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents (American Academy of Pediatrics)
August 30, 2010 – Concussion can cause symptoms that interfere with school, social and family relationships, and participation in sports. This report serves as a basis for understanding the diagnosis and management of concussion in children and adolescent athletes.

Sports Imperative: Protecting Young Brains (The New York Times)
August 24, 2009 – If young athletes want to preserve their brains after a head injury, however minor, the typical jock advice to suck it up and get back in the game is not only bad, it’s potentially life-threatening.