Physical play, organized sports and martial arts are all great ways for kids, teens, and adults to stay healthy and gain important skills in leadership and teamwork. In the normal course of athletics, all sorts of injuries can occur including head injury.
Concussions are the most common type of head injury and are caused by an impact or forceful motion of the head or other part of the body, resulting in rapid movement of the brain within the skull. Concussions can happen to anyone at any time due to bumps, blows or jolts to the head or body. Common causes include falls, motor vehicle crashes, and sports and recreational activities.
It is crucial for instructors, parents, and teens to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussions, understand the potential consequences, and prevent further injury.
MSMAP’s Concussion FAQ is designed to offer participants, parents, and instructors direction in the event of a possible concussion and encourage involvement by medical professionals in a step-by-step protocol for treatment and observation. Our number one goal is to promote and champion the safety and health of our participants.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that interferes with normal brain function. Medically, a concussion is a complex, pathophysiological event to the brain that is induced by trauma which may or may not involve a loss of consciousness (LOC). A concussion results in a variety of physical, cognitive, emotional, and sleep-related symptoms.
80% to 90% of people with a concussion recover quickly and fully, but for some people, symptoms can last from several minutes, weeks and even months in some cases. Older adults, young children and teens usually take the longest to recover from concussions. In addition, a person that has suffered a concussion in the past is at a greater risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover.
During training and competitions, look for these concussion signs and symptoms. Part of what makes concussions so difficult to diagnose is that symptoms vary from person to person. While some people may exhibit effects immediately, for others it can take up to 48 hours for participants or parents to realize that something might be wrong.
NOTE: Concussion symptoms do not always appear immediately it can be hours or even days before the symptoms begin*.
Evaluate the person and note if any of the following signs and/or symptoms are present:
Signs (what other people see)
Symptoms (what people feel)
Emergency treatment is required if any of the following symptoms are observed:
If a possible concussion occurred, but no emergency treatment is needed, what should be done now? Focus on the following areas every 5-10 min for the next 1-2 hours, without returning to any activities:
Participants shall not re-enter competition, training, or partake in any activities for at least 24 hours.
Blast Off into Concussion Safety! For a fun way to learn more about concussions, the Injury Center of the Centers for Disease Control developed a mobile game app on concussion safety for children aged 6 to 8, HEADS UP Rocket Blades. Through a futuristic world of galactic racing adventures children can learn the benefits of playing it safe and smart!
The app aims to teach children:
Medical science and concussion care experts have found that a concussed athlete must take a gradual and progressive, stage-by-stage, step-by-step return to training under medical supervision to minimize risks and allow the brain to properly recover.
California Assembly Bill 2127* mandates a MINIMUM timeline for recovery from a concussion, but medical experts recognize that many adolescent concussion patients may take much longer to recover. Always be cautious as returning to training and play too quickly may have catastrophic consequences.
It is very important for physical and mental rest after a concussion because rest helps the brain to heal. Accept that it will take time to rebuild stamina. Only when symptoms have reduced significantly, and with a health care professional’s consultation, should a person gradually resume their normal routine.
Sometimes, people find that their symptoms come back or they develop new symptoms.dThis is a sign that they are doing too much, too soon. Stop these activities and take more time to rest and recover. As the days go by, people can expect to gradually feel better.
In the case of a possible concussion, MSMAP adheres to the following procedures:
Fill out the Concussion Notification Form in duplicate and signed by a representative of MSMAP.
PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN: If a parent/legal guardian of the player is present, have the parent/legal guardian sign and date the Form, and give the parent/legal guardian one copy of the completed Form. If the parent/legal guardian is not present, then the MSMAP representative is responsible for notifying the parent/legal guardian ASAP by phone or email and then submitting the Form to the parent/legal guardian by email or mail.
INSTRUCTOR: When the parent/guardian is not present, the instructor must make record of how and when the parent/legal guardian was notified. The notification will include a request for the parent/legal guardian to provide confirmation and completion of the Concussion Notification Form whether in writing or electronically.
Very Important: Following a concussion, participants may come into the studio and watch, but must not be in full uniform nor come on the mat for training until MSMAP has received a Medical Release Notification from the participant's physician.
There are a variety of resources available for online training, brief resources and faq sheets, and apps for both iOS and Android. All of these resources are helpful for improving the identification, understanding, and treatment of concussions for continued long-term health.
These free online training modules are excellent tools for learning more about what concussions are, how to recognize the signs and symptoms, and how to treat concussions and get back to enjoying life.
HEADS UP to Youth Sports
This free online course offered by The Centers for Disease Control will help you understand a concussion and the potential consequences of this injury, recognize concussion signs and symptoms and how to respond, learn about steps for returning to play and school activities after a concussion, and focus on prevention and preparedness to help keep athletes safe season-to-season.
NAYS Concussion Training
The National Alliance for Youth Sports developed this program “to provide you with valuable information on concussions and add to what coaches, parents and administrators should know regarding concussion safety. Concussion awareness and prevention is an important issue in youth sports today as it affects the health and well-being of children participating in all sports, and at all levels.”
Concussion Awareness Training Tool
Developed by the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit based in the BC Children's Hospital, “the Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is a series of online educational modules and resources with the goal of standardizing concussion recognition, diagnosis, treatment, and management. Good concussion management may decrease the risk of brain damage and potentially reduce long-term health issues.”
Fact Sheet for Athletes
This is also informative for parents. It's a very short but informative read from the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.
Sports Concussion Infographic
A one-page infographic summarizing key concussion details from the American Academy of Neurology, the world's largest association of neurologists, and the trusted authority on sports concussion.
Concussion Quick Check
A one-page checklist also from the AAN to help evaluate if someone has a concussion and needs to see a licensed health care provider.
HEADS UP Concussion & Safety
The CDC HEADS UP Concussion and Helmet Safety app will help you learn how to spot a possible concussion and what to do if you think your child or teen has a concussion or other serious brain injury. The application also includes a 3D helmet fit feature that teaches about proper helmet fit, safety and care.
Concussion Recognition & Response: For Youth Coaches & Parents
CRR app was developed by Dr. Gerard Gioia, a pediatric neuropsychologist at the Children’s National Medial Center in Washington, DC and the director of SCORE concussion program, and launched through PAR, Inc. The app integrates information that Dr. Gioia developed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Heads Up initiative and walks parents and coaches through a basic Q&A about the signs (what they observe) and symptoms (what an injured athlete reports) to determine if the athlete has suffered a suspected concussion and how to respond. Additionally, an email interface allows detailed information taken on the field to be sent immediately to the athlete’s parents and physician.
Concussion Quick Check
Developed by the American Academy of Neurologists, this app is designed to help coaches, athletic trainers, parents and athletes quickly evaluate if someone may have a concussion and needs to see a licensed health care provider, such as a neurologist, who is specialized in concussion treatment. In addition, the app offers GPS integration and maps to find nearby neurologists; summaries of state laws on concussion; and, the Academy's guidelines for diagnosing, treating and managing sports concussion.
California A.B. 2127, Interscholastic sports: full-contact football practices: concussions and head injuries, is an act to amend Section 49475 of, and to add Section 35179.5 to, the Education Code, relating to interscholastic sports. It was signed by the California Governor on July 21, 2014.
Section 1 of A.B. 2127 cites the reasons for the bill. Section 2 is primarily related to football and practices of high- and middle-schools. Section 3 states procedures to follow when a student is suspected of incurring a concussion. A.B. 2127 adds legislation primary directed at middle schools.
49475. (a) If a school district, charter school, or private school elects to offer an athletic program, the school district, charter school, or private school shall comply with both of the following:
(b) As used in this section, “licensed health care provider” means a licensed health care provider who is trained in the management of concussions and is acting within the scope of his or her practice.
(c) This section does not apply to an athlete engaging in an athletic activity during the regular schoolday or as part of a physical education course required pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 51220.