General Concussion Management Protocols

Symptoms of a concussion are not always definite.

Knowing when it's safe for athletes to return to play is not always clear. Sending them back into the game too soon may put them at risk for a second concussion or a more severe brain injury.

The experts at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program offer the following guidelines and tips for athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators.

Managing Concussions During and After the Game

  • In an optimal situation, a certified athletic trainer or physician assesses an injury, applies sideline testing and/or neurocognitive testing, and evaluates the reported symptoms.
  • If there are signs of an injury, the athlete will be taken out of play. 
  • Once more serious conditions are ruled out, take the athlete to a neuropsychologist or physician trained in concussion management, who will perform:
    • A clinical interview
    • A physical exam
    • Neurocognitive testing, such as ImPACT™ (Immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing)

When in Doubt, Sit Them Out

  • There is no standardized recovery timetable for concussions. Recovery time varies from person to person. Each athlete should be evaluated individually rather than held to a schedule. In certain cases, more active treatment plans are needed.

Our Goal for Our Patients 


Contact Us

To schedule an appointment with one of our concussion experts, call 412-432-3681.
Sports Concussion Program
UPMC Center for Sports Medicine

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