Athletics, martial arts, and play are great ways for kids to stay healthy and gain important skills in leadership and teamwork. Unfortunately, concussions can occur in all sports and activities from any contact including bumps, blows or jolts to the head or body. It is crucial for instructors and parents 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.
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, 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.
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.
In the case of a possible concussion, follow these 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.
HEADS UP to Youth Sports: Online Training
The Centers for Disease Control offers this free online course 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 activity (play and school) after a concussion, and focus on prevention and preparedness to help keep athletes safe season-to-season.
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.
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.