Concussion Awareness



CONCUSSION AS DEFINED BY THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF NEUROLOGICAL SURGEONS  -   A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. It usually is caused by a blow to the head. In many cases, there are no external signs of head trauma. Many people assume that concussions involve a loss of consciousness, but that is not true. In many cases, a person with a concussion never loses consciousness. The formal medical definition of concussion is a clinical syndrome characterized by immediate and transient alteration in brain function, including alteration of mental status and level of consciousness, resulting from mechanical force or trauma. People with concussions often cannot remember what happened immediately before or after the injury and may act confused. A concussion can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance and muscle coordination. Paramedics and athletic trainers who suspect a person has suffered a concussion may ask the injured person if they know their name, what month/year it is and where they are. Even mild concussions should not be taken lightly. Neurosurgeons and other brain-injury experts emphasize that although some concussions are less serious than others, there is no such thing as a "minor concussion." In most cases, a single concussion should not cause permanent damage. A second concussion soon after the first one does not have to be very strong for its effects to be permanently disabling or deadly.

BEFORE YOUR STUDENT ATHLETE EXPERIENCES CONCUSSION it is highly recommended that they receive CONCUSSION BASELINE TESTING: It may not seem important right now but baseline concussion testing can be invaluable if your student athlete sustains a concussion.  The cost of the testing is $30 at Duke and you may contact Corina at to schedule an appointment.  Testing takes 20-30 minutes.  There are many locations around the Triangle that are able to assist in this important pre injury testing.  Ask your pediatrician for the best local resource for your student athlete.

WHEN IN DOUBT SIT THEM OUT -  Our staff is trained to sit student athletes out if they have been struck by a ball or made contact with the playing surface or equipment and has difficulty with any of the concussion evaluation indicators.  Please do not ask them to play your student athlete if they are not completely confident of their ability to do so.  We will ask that the student athlete be evaluated by a medical professional. If cleared and there is no concussion diagnosis, all set to return to play. 

RETURN TO PLAYIf diagnosed by a medical professional, we request documentation and will support the return to play protocol provided by the institution of choice.  Once cleared, after the concussion protocol is implemented the athlete will return to team training and our staff will ease the student athlete back into the pace of the game to avoid unnecessary risk during certain drills.


Carolina Family Practice & Sports Medicine

Duke Health Concussion Clinic

(if you had a great experience at a local physician or hospital, please provide the information so that we may share it here)


American Association of Neurological Surgeons

North Carolina High School Athletic Association - Concussion Awareness

When to go to the hospital