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What should I do if I suspect a concussion?

If you think that a person may have suffered a concussion, you should immediately remove the person from the activity and ensure that they are assessed by a health care provider.  Only a physician or a nurse practitioner can diagnose a concussion. Do not send a child back into a game or activity. When in doubt, sit them out!

Things to Know

  • Loss of consciousness occurs rarely and should not be the sole criteria to suspect a concussion and loss of consciousness does not necessarily indicate the severity or recovery from a concussion.
  • There is no evidence that protective equipment will prevent a concussion. Mouth guards and helmets play an important role in preventing mouth, head and brain injuries. However, the risk of concussion is not affected by the brand, age or style of a helmet or a mouth guard.
  • Current evidence does not support a significant added benefit to baseline testing in youth athletes or adult recreational athletes. Rather than using tests such as baseline tests, sport organizations are encouraged to develop processes within their organizations to recognize and remove a player when a suspected concussion has occurred.
  • A concussion causes functional changes to the brain, rather than structural changes. Therefore, no abnormalities will show on a standard imaging, like a MRI or CT scan. Being aware of the common signs and symptoms is the first step to identifying a concussion. If you suspect a concussion, please seek help from a medical professional.
  • Concussion Primer for Parents from Dr. Mike Evans Concussion 101.