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Concussion in Youth Sports

WYSA strongly recommends that all coaches take the on-line training available from the CDC on concussion awareness.  The training takes approximately 30 minutes. 


Concussion awareness is becoming an important aspect of youth and school sports.  Massachusetts has enacted laws prohibiting student athletes suspected of having suffered a concussion from returning to competition or practice until medically cleared.  School districts and schools must have programs governing the prevention and management of sports-related head injuries.  The following information was taken from the CDC's Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports website.  Links for additional information can be found at the end of this article including checklists that you can print out and keep on  your clipboard as a reference.

If you suspect a player has a concussion remove them from the game or practice, notify the player's parents and recommend they have their player evaluated by a physician.  See below for symptoms.

Concussion Facts

  • A concussion is a brain injury
  • As many as 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions occur in the US each year
  • All concussions are serious - it is not just getting your bell rung!
  • Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull
  • Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness
  • A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems

Recognizing a Concussion

  • A forceful blow to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head AND any change in the athlete’s behavior, thinking, or physical functioning

Signs and Symptoms
Any of the following systems that you notice or that the player may report indicate a possible concussion!  The player does not have to be knocked unconscious.

You may notice the player:

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets plays
  • Is unsure of game, score or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to or after the incident

The player may notice:

  • Headache or “pressure” in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Does not “feel right”

If you Suspect a Concussion

  • Remove the athlete from play for the remainder of the game or practice
  • Notify the parents about a possible concussion
  • Suggest the parents contact their physician
  • It’s better to miss one game than the whole season!  Playing with a concussion is dangerous.

Urgent Symptoms
The following require Immediate Medical Attention

  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Cannot recognize people or places
  • Lose consciousness
Additional Resources