Tools intended to reduce the estimated four million US sports concussions experienced each year and to limit the severity of injury that can result from continued play after concussion, The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) introduced new tools for high school coaches, athletes and parents of youths to learn the signs of sports concussion. It emphasizes knowing when a player must leave the game as well as when – and if –  it’s ok to return to playing.

AAN is the leading professional neurologist organization dedicated to managing sports concussion. In 2010, AAN issued a new policy statement on managing concussions and is currently updating its guideline recommendations that define concussion severity levels.

“Coaches and parents need to understand the extreme care that is needed when returning younger athletes to the game who may have experienced a concussion,” said Jeffrey Kutcher, MD, chair of the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Neurology Section and also director of the University of Michigan’s Neurosport program. “If for any reason you suspect an athlete has a concussion, remove the athlete from play and be sure the athlete is carefully evaluated by a person trained in concussion management, such as a neurologist.”

Common Signs Coaches May Observe in Players

  • Behavior or personality change
  • False/imagined memory
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Empty stare
  • Disorientation

Symptoms Athletes May Report

  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Headache

The Academy’s website now offers two free 20-minute online safety courses – with printable certificate after passing the online quiz – created by the University of Michigan Neurosport program and endorsed by the American Academy of Neurology to help high school and youth coaches recognize the signs of concussion and what to do if a player gets a head injury during a game. It also has free downloadable Coaches Cards on how to spot concussion and what to do if a player receives one. Coaches and players are encouraged to keep these cards with their athletic gear for easy access. Public service announcements will also air on radio stations nationwide.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 24,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, acquired brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.  For more information about AAN and its resources for sports concussion, visit