Education Is Key

Education Is Key

Every time an athlete steps on the playing field, he or she faces the very real possibility of concussion. In fact, U.S. athletes at all levels of competition suffer more than 1 million concussions each year. Most concussions (80 to 90 percent) will resolve within seven to 10 days. But for reasons not yet well understood, some patients take much longer to recover.

Effects of a concussion can last several months, and rarely, may have long-lasting effects, even into adulthood. Expedient diagnosis and management of concussions are the best ways to reduce the potential long-term-risks.

Speedy diagnosis and treatment can reduce lifelong effects

Warning signs

Problems could arise over the first 24-48 hours. You should be checked while sleeping every 4 hours to make sure you are alright. You should not be left alone and must seek medical treatment from the nearest hospital immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • One pupil larger than the other.
  • Inability to recognize people or places.
  • Nausea or repeated vomiting.
  • Pupils that are enlarged, unequal in size or non-reactive to light.
  • Slowing of pulse.
  • Unusual, bizarre or irritable behavior.
  • Any clear or bloody discharge from nose or ears.
  • Seizures (arms and legs jerk uncontrollably).
  • Dizziness, confusion or stupor.
  • Worsening headache.
  • Double or blurry vision.
  • Weakness or numbness in arms or legs.
  • Excessive drowsiness or fainting.
  • Unsteadiness or poor balance.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Decline in alertness.
  • Fever.
  • Difficulty waking from sleep.

What to do for the first 24-48 hours after your injury

  • Watch for warning signs: You should be observed and go to the hospital if you develop any warning signs.
  • Physical rest: Avoid any physical activity that increases your heart rate such as sports, walking, shopping, stairs, and exercise.
  • Driving: Do not drive for at least 24 hours or if your symptoms prevent you from being safe behind the wheel.
  • Pain relief: Do not use aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).
  • Drinking/drugs: Do not use alcohol, sleeping pills or recreational drugs as these can mask your symptoms or make them worse.


Although we know of nothing that can prevent a concussion, be smart and follow these guidelines.

  • Use the proper sports and personal protective equipment. Equipment must be:
    • The right equipment for the game, position or activity.
    • Worn correctly and be the correct size and fit.
    • Used every time you play or practice.
    • In good condition.
    • Wear a mouth piece and for Football – chin strap.
  • Follow the rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
  • Coaches should insist that players follow the rules of the game and display good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Learn about current Research & Innovations in sports equipment.

Parents and coaches

Your role is pivotal in educating your team, child or teachers about the seriousness of a concussion. Knowing the symptoms of a concussion and getting the concussed individual to a healthcare provider experienced in evaluating for concussions as quickly as possible, is critical.

Do you have a concussion policy?

  • Visit Sports Health to download the Cleveland Clinic Sports Concussion Policy Template. Get support from other school officials to have a policy in place before the first practice.
Additional Resources

Additional Resources


A secure online tool connecting patients to their own health information from the privacy of their home.

The MyChart • Caregiver service, an optional feature in MyChart, allows you to view family members' records. When clicking on a particular name, you will access that family member's MyChart account.