Concussion Knowledge for Coaches | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Concussion Care for Kids: Minds Matter

Concussion Knowledge for Coaches

coach with football players

A concussion is a common pediatric and adolescent injury. While much attention is paid to adults who play professional sports, the majority of sports-related concussions happen in children and adolescents. For high school sports, about 1 in 20 to 1 in 30 athletes will sustain a concussion per season. This means that on average one to three players per team will sustain a concussion during the season.

As youth sports coaches, you are part of the first line of defense in recognizing a concussion and preventing further injury

Concussion awareness

Concussion awareness is an important aspect of youth sports for many reasons. Coaches of youth sports should consider:

Increase your concussion knowledge

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects the way the brain functions. Concussions used to be referred to as a “ding” or “having your bell rung,” and were brushed off as “no big deal” and a normal part of playing sports. However, we now know more about concussions and understand that any suspected concussion must be taken seriously.

What causes a concussion?

A concussion is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body where forces of the hit are transmitted to the head, causing the brain to literally shake inside the skull. It was once believed that a player had to lose consciousness or be “knocked out” to have a concussion. This is a not true! In fact, fewer than 10 percent of all players with concussions actually lose consciousness.

How is a concussion diagnosed?

Concussions are different from other sports injuries such as sprains, strains and broken bones, which are structural injuries that you can see with your eyes, feel with your hands or see on an X-ray. A concussion is a problem with function, not structure; therefore, concussions cannot be seen on a CT scan or MRI. A concussion is a disruption of how the brain works — and often an athlete with a concussion may look physically OK. What a concussion looks like is an athlete who is not functioning normally.

In this section, you will find information about:


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If you suspect a concussion

Contact your child’s primary care doctor for evaluation.

Find a CHOP Primary Care physician near you »

If symptoms persist, you can schedule an appointment with
a concussion specialist:

Sports Medicine and Performance Center

Pediatric Trauma Center

Helping Your Child Recover After a Concussion

Download our Return to Learn and Return to Play Plans»