Concussion Protocol Info Sheet

Dear Parent/Guardian & Athletes,

This information sheet is provided to assist you and your child in recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Every athlete is different and responds to a brain injury differently, so seek medical attention if you suspect your child has a concussion. Once a concussion occurs, it is very important your athlete return to normal activities slowly, so he/she does not do more damage to his/her brain.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is an injury to the brain that may be caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head.  Concussions may also happen after a fall or hit that jars the brain. A blow elsewhere on the body can cause a concussion even if an athlete does not hit his/her head directly. Concussions can range from mild to severe.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion Athletes do not have to be “knocked out” to have a concussion. In fact, less than 1 out of 10 concussions result in loss of consciousness. Concussion symptoms can develop right away or up to 48 hours after the injury. Ignoring any signs or symptoms of a concussion puts your child’s health at risk!

Signs Observed by Coaches, Officials, Parents or Guardians

  • Appears dazed, stunned or confused
  • Unsure about event, location of name of meet
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes– irritability, sadness, nervousness, emotional
  • Can’t recall events before or after incident

Symptoms Reported by Athlete

  • Any headache or “pressure” in head- how badly it hurts does not matter
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Does not “feel right”
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Sleeping more or less than usual


Be Honest
Encourage your athlete to be honest with you, his/her coach and your health care provider about his/her symptoms. Many young athletes get caught up in the moment and/or feel pressured to return to sports before they are ready. It is better to miss practice or meets than the entire season... or risk permanent damage!

Seek Medical Attention Right Away

Seeking medical attention on the day of the event is an important first step if you suspect or are told your swimmer has a concussion. A qualified health care professional will be able to determine how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to sports and other daily activities.


Returning to School

 1.Your athlete may need to initially return to school on a limited basis, for example for  only half-days, at first. This should be done under the supervision of a qualified health care professional.
2. Inform teacher(s), school counselor or administrator(s) about the injury and symptoms. School personnel should be instructed to watch for:
a. Increased problems paying attention.
b. Increased problems remembering or learning new information.
c. Longer time needed to complete tasks or assignments.
d. Greater irritability and decreased ability to cope with stress.
e. Symptoms worsen (headache, tiredness) when doing schoolwork.
3. Be sure your child takes multiple breaks during study time and watch for worsening of symptoms.
4. If your child is still having concussion symptoms, he/she may need extra help with school‐related activities. As the symptoms decrease during recovery, the extra help can be removed gradually.
Returning to the Pool
1. Returning to the pool is specific for each person. As an example, California law requires written permission from a health care provider before an athlete can return to play. Follow instructions and guidance provided by a health care professional. It is important that you, your child and your child’s coach follow these instructions carefully.
2. Your child should NEVER be on deck, practice, or participate in competition if he/she still has ANY symptoms. (Be sure that your child does not have any symptoms at rest and while doing any physical activity and/or activities that require a lot of thinking or concentration).
3. Be sure that the athletic trainer, coach and physical education teacher are aware of your child’s injury and symptoms.
4. Your athlete should complete a step-by-step exercise-based progression, under the direction of a qualified healthcare professional.
  • Insurance - USA Swimming provides an excess accident medical insurance policy for USA Swimming members while participating or volunteering in a USA Swimming sponsored or sanctioned event. Details of the insurance coverage are on the USA Swimming website under Insurance and Risk Management.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Zurich Concussion Conference (2012) - Consensus statement on concussion in sport: the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Zurich, November 2012.
  • ODH Violence and Injury Prevention Program - National Federation of State High School As
  • National Federation of State High School Associations - – Index concussions and see “A parent’s guide to concussion in sports”