Concussion Management

Signs of a Concussion

According to the CDC "a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth."


Observable Signs

Athlete-Reported Symptoms

Appears to be dazed or stunned


Appears confused


Forgets assignment or play

Dizziness or balance problems

Unsure of game, score, or opponent

Double or fuzzy vision

Moves clumsily

Sensitivity to light or noise

Loss of consciousness (even briefly)

Feeling sluggish

Answers questions slowly

Feeling foggy or groggy

Shows behavior or personality changes

Concentration or memory problems

Can't recall events prior to or after the injury    

Change in sleep patterns


Patient Instructions for a Head Injury

Your child has sustained a head injury. It shows no evidence of complication at the present time. However, it's important that you observe your child carefully for the next one to two days. Report any questionable findings in the following areas:

  • Behavioral Changes: Watch your child for any type of inappropriate behavior such as mental confusion or irritability.
  • Persistent Vomiting: Your child may vomit once or twice following the injury. This is normal. However, repeated or recurrent vomiting should be reported.
  • Headache: Report the problem if the headache gets progressively worse or persists over 24 hours.
  • Loss of Coordination or Balance: Watch your child in the use of his or her extremities. Report any signs of "stumbling gait" or loss of movement.
  • Visual Disturbance: Your child may complain of double or blurred vision. The pupils may be considerably unequal. Unusual repetitive eye movement may be exhibited. Any of these problems should be reported.
  • Clear or Bloody Drainage: Check your child's nose and ears occasionally. Report any slow continuous seepage of clear or bloody drainage.
  • Convulsions: Should your child have a seizure or convulsion, DO NOT PANIC. Move your child to an area where no injury may result. Provide plenty of space for breathing. Contact emergency medical service (911) immediately.

SportsCare Concussion Management

Memorial’s SportsCare has been the area’s leader in sports medicine since 1985, providing medical coverage to student athletes throughout practices and athletic sporting events. We recognize that sports-related concussions are unfortunately common in contact sports.

Because an athlete may not have fully recovered from an apparent concussion before returning to the activity, there’s an increased risk of deteriorating or even catastrophic consequences from a second traumatic blow. That’s why we use a computer-based concussion testing program called ImPACT™ with the student athletes who are under our care.

The Advantage of ImPACTTM

One of the most widely used neurocognitive test is ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). ImPACT is a scientifically-validated, computerized concussion evaluation system.

This system uses a baseline test to evaluate and document multiple aspects of brain function. If an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, a follow-up test is administrated to compare results against the baseline. Comparing results allows for objective evaluation of the athlete's condition and enables the clinician to track the athlete's recovery allowing for a safe return to play. According to an international panel of sports medicine experts, this type of neurocognitive testing has been called the "cornerstone" of concussion management.

ImPACT measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes, including:

  • Attention span
  • Working memory
  • Sustained and selective attention time
  • Response variability
  • Non-verbal problem solving
  • Reaction time

The test takes approximately 30 minutes and involves a series of questions pertaining to student health, athletic profile, academic background and injury/concussion history. The test consists of a near infinite number of alternate forms by randomly varying the stimulus array for each administration. This feature was built in to the program to minimize the “practice effects” that have limited the usefulness of more traditional neurocognitive tests.

Many professional, Olympic, collegiate and military athletic programs use ImPACT. Memorial SportsCare's certified athletic trainers use ImPACT within all covered schools throughout central Illinois.

For more information, contact SportsCare's lead athletic trainer: John Watson, M.D., at 217-547-9236