Wise Up Initiative, An Initiative of The Al and Sharyne Wallace Foundation Wise Up Initiative, An Initiative of The Al and Sharyne Wallace Foundation
About Head Injuries


Concussions, in athletes, can result from a fall or from players colliding with each other or with obstacles, such as a goalpost. The potential for concussions is greatest in athletic environments where collisions are common. Concussions can occur, however, in any organized or unorganized sport or recreational activity.

Recognizing a Possible Concussion In Athletes

Watch for these two things:

1. A forceful blow to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head
2. Any change in the athlete's behavior, thinking, or physical functioning
Signs Observed
by Coaching Staff

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets sports plays
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Can't recall events prior to, or after hit or fall
Symptoms Reported
by Athlete

  • Headache or "pressure" in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion

Athletes who experience any of these signs or symptoms after a bump or blow to the head should be kept from play until given permission to return to play by a health care professional with experience in evaluating concussions. Signs and symptos of a concussion can last from several minutes, to days, weeks, months, or even longer in some cases.

Remember, you can't see a concussion and some athletes may not experience and/or report symptoms until hours or days after the injury. If you have any suspicion that your athlete has a concussion, you should keep the athlete out of the game or practice.

It's not SMART or "MACHO" to play with a concussion
Sometimes players, parents, and coaches wrongly believe that it shows strength and courage to play injured. Discourage others from pressuring injured athletes to play. Don't let athletes persuade you that they're "just fine" after they have sustained any bump or blow to the head.

Prevent long-term problems
A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first - usually within a short period of time (hours, days, or weeks) - can recover slowly or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems. In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in brain swelling, permanent brain damage, and even death. "It's better to miss one game than the whole season."

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