According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a concussion is a brain injury caused by a bump or blow to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells. Even what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. The FEI defines a concussion as a traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function and is caused by a biomechanical force or hit to the head or boday and transmitted to the brain. Below are valuable resources for spotting and treating concussions.
The USEFNetwork has a Learning Center video on the signs and symptoms of concussions and overall helmet safety, which can be found here.
For a list of legislation by State enacted between 2009 and 2017 that address traumatic brain injuries, please visit the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The Chronicle of the Horse: The Great Concussion Discussion
The Chronicle of the Horse recently published an article written by Mollie Bailey on the topic of concussions, as the first of a two-part series. This article examines what is known about concussions and brain injuries in equestrian athletes. To read the article, please click here.
Concussions Can Be Detected With New Blood Test Approved by F.D.A
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a blood test to detect concussions in people and more quickly identify those with possible brain injuries. For more information regarding the blood test, please see this news article.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer a free online course, which covers all aspects of concussions in sport. This course includes information regarding recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion, returning to sport after a concussion, and concussion prevention.
Recognizing a Concussion
The 5th International Consensus on Concussion in Sport was held in Berlin in October of 2016. This conferene is the most prestigious gathering in the world of sports concussion researchers and experts and is held every four years. The experts from this conference released a Concussion Consensus Statement and the following tools, which can be found below in the Forms and Publications section of this page.
- CRT 5 (Concussion Recognition Tool) is designed to help anyone recognize the signs and symptions of a concussion in order to take appropriate action in assisting the athlete.
- SCAT 5 (Sport Concussions Assessment Tool) is designed to be used by medical professionals in making the determination as to whether an athlete is concussed.
- Child SCAT 5 should be used by medical professionals in making the determination as to whether a child between the ages of 5 and 12 is concussed.
Please make sure to seek professional advice whenever concussion is suspected.
Signs and Symptoms of Concussions
Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Information regarding recognizing a possible concussion can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
As a coach, parent or competitor, you play a key role in preventing concussions and responding properly when they occur. There are steps you can take to help prevent concussions and traumatic head injuries. Some brain injury safety tips and prevention information may be found here. Additional information regarding preventing concussions in child athletes can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Heads Up website.
Information regarding helmet safety can be found in the Forms and Publications section at the bottom of this page.
Heads Up for Safety
The Heads Up app will help you learn how to spot and what to do if you think your child or teen has a concussion or other serious brain injury. Download it today and stay informed!
Neurocognitive Assessment Test
Immediate Post-Concussion Assessement and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) is a tool used by many in the evaluation of a concussion. ImPACT may be found here.
Concussion and Head Injury Organization Resources
The following is a list of concussion and head injury organizations:
- American Academy of Neurology
- American Association of Neurological Surgeons
- Brain Injury Association of America
- Brain Injury Resource Center
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Mom's Team Concussion Safety Law References
- Think Head First
Concussion in Sport Resources
The following is a list of helpful resources in the event that you or your child have a suspected concussion:
- American Academy of Family Physicians: "Concussion in Sports: Minimizing the Risk of Complications"
- American Academy of Neurology: Sports Concussion Toolkit
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heads Up: Concussion in High School Sports
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heads Up: Parents
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heads Up: Policies and Governance
- Equestrian Medical Safety Association: Concussion and Return to Play
- Moms Team: Youth Concussion Safety Center