According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a concussion is a brain injury caused by a bump or blow to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells. Even what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. The FEI defines a concussion as a traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function and is caused by a biomechanical force or hit to the head or boday and transmitted to the brain. Below are valuable resources for spotting and treating concussions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer a free online course, which covers all aspects of concussions in sport. This course includes information regarding recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion, returning to sport after a concussion, and concussion prevention.
Signs and Symptoms of Concussions
Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Information regarding recognizing a possible concussion can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Please make sure to seek professional advice whenever concussion is suspected.
As a coach, parent or competitor, you play a key role in preventing concussions and responding properly when they occur. There are steps you can take to help prevent concussions and traumatic head injuries. Some brain injury safety tips and prevention information may be found here. Additional information regarding preventing concussions in child athletes can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Heads Up website.
Information regarding helmet safety can be found in the Forms and Publications section at the bottom of this page.
Heads Up for Safety
The Heads Up app created by the CDC will help you learn how to spot and what to do if you think your child or teen has a concussion or other serious brain injury. There is also a game for ages 6-8 to help them understand the benefits of playing it safe and smart.
Neurocognitive Assessment Test
Immediate Post-Concussion Assessement and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) is a tool used by many in the evaluation of a concussion. ImPACT may be found here.
Concussion and Head Injury Organization Resources
The following is a list of concussion and head injury organizations:
- American Academy of Neurology
- American Association of Neurological Surgeons
- Brain Injury Association of America
- Brain Injury Resource Center
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Mom’s Team Concussion Safety Law References
- Think Head First
Concussion in Sport Resources
The following is a list of helpful resources in the event that you or your child have a suspected concussion:
- American Academy of Family Physicians: “Concussion in Sports: Minimizing the Risk of Complications”
- American Academy of Neurology: Sports Concussion Toolkit
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heads Up: Concussion in High School Sports
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heads Up: Parents
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heads Up: Policies and Governance
- Equestrian Medical Safety Association: Concussion and Return to Play
- Moms Team: Youth Concussion Safety Center