What is a concussion?
Concussion is defined as mild traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function. Each
concussion is unique and can cause multiple symptoms. Some symptoms wil appear immediately, while
others may develop over the fol owing days or weeks. Symptoms may be subtle and are often difficult to ful y
recognize. Common symptoms include headache, dizziness, sensitivity to light and noise, mood changes and
difficulty with concentration and memory. Other symptoms may also be present.
What should I watch for?
If the athlete is sent home, they should not be left alone. A responsible adult should stay with them to
monitor their symptoms and help ensure they are resting. If any of the fol owing appear you should contact
your physician or go to your hospital emergency room immediately.
• Unequal pupil size or slow / absent reaction to
Unusual mental confusion or disorientation
• Convulsions or seizure Are painkillers ok to use? Normally, nothing stronger than Tylenol is advised. The use of aspirin, Advil, Motrin, and Aleve should be
avoided as they are blood thinners and may increase bleeding. Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants is also
recommended. Is a CT needed? The need for a CT is most often determined by a physician in the emergency room. Typical y, with a
concussion, a CT wil appear normal. If you are not sent to the emergency room, a CT is likely not needed. When do we see the doctor? Per OSAA Guidelines and State Law, any athlete with a concussion with needs written medical clearance before they can return to competition. If the athlete has a history of concussion we would encourage you to see the provider who has previously treated them. If there is no previous history of concussion, you can fol ow up with the athlete’s regular doctor or we can provide names of doctors who are experienced with managing concussions.
If at any time during the recovery process you have questions or concerns about the athlete’s progress, please do not hesitate to check in with the athlete’s doctor or other health care provider.
Is sleeping all night ok? Before sleeping, evaluate symptoms to check their progression. If they are improving, it is believed sleeping
without being woken up is all right. Their pupils seem normal; do they still have a concussion? Pupil reaction is observed during most concussion evaluations. Typically, athletes with a concussion wil have
normal pupil reaction that matches in both eyes. This is tested not to determine the presence of a concussion,
but rather to rule out a more serious brain injury. What about school?
Communication wil be sent to the athlete’s teachers and counselor informing them of the concussion. Current
research has shown the need for complete physical and cognitive rest. While it is important to be at school,
we encourage parents to evaluate the athlete’s symptoms and then determine if being at school or staying at
home to rest is the best course of action. Often when students come to school while stil experiencing
moderate to severe symptoms, their symptoms wil worsen during the course of the day, resulting in a need to
be picked up from school. Please remember that half days are also an option.
What about ImPACT testing?
The ImPACT test is a computer based test designed to help monitor recovery after a concussion. It tests both
short and long term memory, reaction times, pattern recognition and impulse control. After a concussion,
scores are compared to baseline scores for comparison. Baseline ImPACT testing is administered during the
first week of freshmen year and the last month of sophomore year. ImPACT scores can be sent to your
What is next? To help monitor the athlete’s symptoms, a Post-Concussion Symptom Scale has been sent home. Please have
the athlete rate each symptom on a scale of 0 to 6, with 0 being no symptom and 6 being severe. This sheet
should be sent to school daily with the athlete for review by the Athletic Trainer. The athlete should check in
daily with the Athletic Trainer to have their progress monitored. The return to participation progression is outlined on the other side of this sheet.
If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach me by cel phone (503) 706-4041 or e-mail
Additional resources can be found under the Athletics page at
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