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Sports Medicine » Parent/Teacher Information for Concussions





What is a concussion?



A concussion is a brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. Even a “ding,”

“getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. Concussions may, or may

not, involve memory problems or loss of consciousness.

What are the signs and symptoms?

You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms or concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be

noticed until days after the injury.

Go to the hospital immediately if any of these signs are visible:

- Worsening headache - Confused or Very Irritable

- Very Drowsy - Seizures

- Can’t recognize people and places - Unsteady

- Repeated Vomiting - Slurred Speech

- Have weak or numb arms or legs - Unable to stay awake

What should I do?

Any athlete suspected of having a concussion will be removed from practice or competition and be evaluated by a Health

Care Professional. Each FWISD High School employs a Licensed Athletic Trainer who is trained to do this evaluation

and is the person who will do daily follow-up with the student to track their progress.

The following are things to do with your son/daughter if they are suspected of having a concussion or after they have been

evaluated by the Athletic Trainer:



Take them home and let them sleep. They need to be in a darkened, quiet environment so the brain rests with

little stimulation.



TAKE AWAY ACCESS TO ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES. Take away their phone, ipod, computer and

television. Any visual or auditory stimulation of the brain can prolong symptoms.



Watch for the above signs and, if observed, take to ER or call 911 immediately.



Continue total rest for at least 24 hours. This may mean they miss school or practice which is fine. They need the

rest and sensory deprivation more than anything.



Don’t use alcohol, drive, use sleeping tablets, or do any strenuous activity.



Return to the Athletic Trainer at the High School after at least 24 hours so they can begin evaluating the severity

of the concussion using the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT 2) and/or ImPact.



If you feel the need to provide pain medication, only use Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Don’t use ibuprofen (Advil),

Motrin, aspirin products or prescription pain medications as these can increase bleeding or mask symptoms.

When can my son/daughter return to activity?

Your son/daughter must meet with the Athletic Trainer daily to evaluate their symptoms. When the athlete is symptomfree

without medication then they need to be evaluated and released by a physician of your choice before they can begin

the Return-to-Play Protocol. This Protocol is a 5 step process to slowly increase their activity level every 24 hours until

they are back to full participation. After completing the Return-to-Play Protocol successfully the treating physician must

release them to full, unrestricted activity and a UIL Return to Play Form must be completed by the athlete and

parent/guardian. More information will be provided by the Athletic Trainer on this process when it begins.


Concussion Education for Teachers, School Administrators and Faculty

Concussions are more common in high school athletics than previously thought. Recent studies by the

Centers for Disease Control indicate that there are as many as 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions each year in the

United States alone. Given there are currently more than seven million participants in high school sports in the

United States, teachers, school administrators and nurses should be more aware of the possible complications of

this injury for the student-athlete.

Concussions are not only reserved for the student-athlete. Physical Education students as well as the

general student population may also experience concussion while participating in physical education class, riding

a bicycle, skateboarding or as a passenger in a motor vehicle. Therefore, it becomes important for school faculty

to become better educated on concussion, its assessment, effects and treatment. This will assist the student in

recovery as well as not cause them to suffer academically for an injury that occurred to them.

What should teachers know about concussion?

One aspect of the management of sports-related concussions often overlooked is that we expect our

students to perform at their highest level in the classroom following injury. This is true despite the fact that

concussion often results in impaired attention, difficulties with concentrating for prolonged periods of time and

memory problems. If a student sprains his or her ankle and it is swollen, would the student be expected to

participate in physical education? Most likely not. The same should be true for concussion. If prolonged

classroom exposure causes a student’s condition to worsen (i.e., increased headache, increased fatigue, decreased

ability to concentrate, sensitivity to noise or light), then it would be reasonable to expect that their academic

environment and expectations be modified until their condition is resolved.


Realize and acknowledge that the student is not “faking” an injury. While they may look “normal” their

brain may not be working properly.


Understand that the student initially may not be able to attend school.


Understand that the student may initially not be able to tolerate more than half days of school.

The following modifications can be made to help a concussed student recover more rapidly while

maintaining their academic integrity.


Temporarily assign shorter assignments and lighter workloads.


Temporarily assign a classmate to take notes/assignments for them.


Increase the repetition of verbal instructions.


Provide assignments and instructions in writing to avoid confusion.


Provide smaller pieces of information to aid in retention and recall of facts and ideas.


Increase time allotments for homework assignments.


Slow down verbal instructions.


Move the student to an area of the classroom that is less prone to bright lights or increased noise.



(i.e. away from windows or hallway doors)


Postpone important tests if possible as to not allow their injury to affect their grades.


Allow periodic rest breaks. You can send them to the nurse if they need a quiet area to rest.


Allow the student to wear dark glasses, use computer monitor glare filters and/or earplugs (especially in

music classes) to decrease visual and auditory stimulation.



Unusual behavior includes


Poor attention, concentration frustration, reduced short term memory recall or delayed

processing, disproportionate reactions to situations, sensitivity to light, etc.

Above information modified and adapted from:

Mihalik, Jason P. MS, CAT(C), ATC, “Managing the Student-athlete Suffering from Concussion: Is it Worth the Headache?”, National Federation of State High School

Associations 2006,

Fort Worth Independent School District