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The VHSL Handbook (27-2-5) requires that prior to the first practice for all coaches of VHSL fall, winter and spring sports teams, these individuals must take a recognized course providing both education and prevention regarding concussion as it relates to high school activities.  The VHSL further strongly recommends that all participants and parents/guardians take advantage of the NFHS's online video, "Concussion in Sports, What You Need to Know" to learn about the signs, symptoms and treatment of concussions.  The video takes approximately 15 minutes and is FREE.  To access the video go to

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function.  An athlete does not have to lose consciousness (be "knocked out") to have suffered a concussion.

Common symptoms of concussion include:

  • headache
  • fogginess
  • difficulty concentrating
  • easily confused
  • slowed thought processes
  • difficulty with memory
  • nausea
  • lack of energy, tiredness
  • dizziness, poor balance
  • blurred vision
  • sensitivity to light and sounds
  • mood changes - irritable, anxious or tearful
  • appears dazed or stunned
  • confused about assignment
  • forgets plays
  • unsure of game, score or opponent
  • moves clumsily
  • answers questions slowly
  • loses consciousness
  • shows behavior or personality changes

Suggested Concussion Management:

  1. No athlete should return to play (RTP) or practice on the same day of a concussion.
  2. Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional that day.
  3. Any athlete with a concussion should be medically cleared by an appropriate health-care professional prior to resuming participation in any practice or competition.
  4. After medical clearance, RTP should follow a step-wise protocol with provisions for delayed RTP based upon return of any signs or symptoms.

For more information, see the "Resources" on the right of this page.

Concussion in Sports - Sports Related Concussions Update (VHSL SMAC Aug. 2012)

Concussion in Sports - Suggested Guidelines for Management (NFHS 2013)

Concussion in Sports - A Parent's Guide (NFHS 2013)

Concussion in Sports - What You Need to Know (NFHS Video)

VHSL SMAC Concussion Return to Participation Form (2013)

CDC Traumatic Brain Injuries

International Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport (November 2012)

Soft or Padded Headgear in Non-Helmeted Sports Position Statement (NFHS 2013)

Recommendations and Guidelines for Minimizing Head Impact Exposure and Concussion Risk in Football (NFHS 2014)

CME Review and Update Training for Physicians on Concussion Management (VDH 2015)