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Concussion in sports has received a lot of attention recently, and for good reasons. When an athlete sustains a concussion, it is imperative that he/she receive a complete evaluation by a trained medical provider who has experience with concussion management. Although most concussions are mild and do not involve loss of consciousness, most experts agree that there is no such thing as a “minor” head injury. All head injuries deserve expert evaluation so that athletes can return to sports quickly but safely.

How to Recognize a Concussion When it Occurs

A concussion temporarily alters an athlete’s mental and physical abilities. Some athletes lose consciousness after concussion, but most do not. The most common symptom of concussion include the following:

Physical Symptoms:
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness, light-headedness
  • Loss of balance
  • Blurred vision or light sensitivity
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Sleep difficulties
Cognitive Symptoms:
  • Feeling “foggy”
  • Difficulty with concentration and memory
  • Feeling less organized
  • Slowed thinking or speech
Behavioral Symptoms:
  • Decreased Motivation
  • Easily Overwhelmed
  • Mood Changes

If an athlete suffers a concussion, he or she should be evaluated by a physician with concussion management experience as soon as possible. Never return to play if you still experience any symptoms at rest or during any physical activity. Returning to play too soon can potentially be dangerous. Sustaining another concussion while still recovering from a previous one can cause serious life-long health difficulties. Return-to-play should occur in gradual steps and under the direction of qualified professionals. The effects of a concussion can be subtle and may only be detected by someone experienced in recognizing the signs and symptoms of concussion.We strive to see all concussed athletes within 24 hours of sustaining a concussion.

Helpful Handouts

Parents’ Guide to Concussion

Concussion Care Instructions

Daily Monitoring Sheet

Heads Up Concussion Fact Sheet for Parents

Heads Up Concussion Fact Sheet for Coaches

Heads Up Concussion Fact Sheet Athletes

Heads Up Concussion Fact Sheet for School Professionals

Heads Up Concussion Action Plan


Sports Concussion Rehab Program

If you are diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome, your physician may refer you to the specialized Sports Concussion Rehab Program at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.