Multimedia Educational Toolkit Designed to Protect Teen
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is announcing a new
multimedia educational toolkit to protect teen athletes from a serious but
often underestimated health threat - concussion. Concussions are a type of
traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow or jolt to the head that can
range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works.
More than 300,000 sports-and recreation-related TBI’s occur in the United
States each year.
This initiative, “Heads Up: Concussion in High School Sports,” includes
information to prevent concussions and identify symptoms and immediate steps
to take when an athlete is showing signs of a concussion.
“Organized sports play an important role in helping kids stay healthy.
However, we need to recognize that sometimes there are health risks like
concussions in sports where collisions are part of the game,” said CDC
Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. “Athletic directors, trainers, and coaches
play a key role in preventing concussions and managing them correctly and
this kit provides them with a variety of helpful tools to assist them in
making good decisions about their players.”
The centerpiece of the toolkit is a video and DVD featuring a high school
football player who was permanently disabled after sustaining a second
concussion during a game. This player’s post-injury perspective emphasizes
that it’s better to miss one game than to miss the entire season – or the
promise of a healthy future. His experience highlights a rare but potentially
fatal condition called second-impact syndrome, which occurs when a person who
has had a concussion experiences a second blow while the brain is vulnerable.
This second blow does not have to be violent or strong for its effects to be
deadly or permanently disabling.
The toolkit also contains practical, easy-to-use information for coaches,
athletic directors and trainers, teens, and parents:
- A coach’s guide with information about preventing and managing
concussion and how to implement a concussion action plan;
- A wallet card and clipboard sticker for coaches, which include signs
and symptoms and emergency contacts;
- Posters targeting athletes, which can be placed in high school locker
rooms or heavily trafficked areas at school or in the community;
- Fact sheets for parents and athletes, in English and Spanish; and
- A CD-ROM with downloadable kit materials and other concussion-related
“Concussions can happen to any athlete, male or female, in any sport, and
they should never be ignored,” said CDC Injury Center director Dr. Ileana
Arias. “It’s not smart to play injured. This toolkit will provide coaches and
parents with a common sense approach to help raise awareness and prevent
sports-related concussions among athletes.”
To prevent these life-changing and life-threatening events, coaches,
athletic directors, parents and teens should:
- Use the right protective equipment during all practices and games.
- Know the signs and symptoms of concussion.
- Make sure their school has a year-round concussion action plan that can
be used during games and practices.
- Keep athletes with known or suspected concussion from play until
appropriate medical personnel have evaluated them and given them permission
to return to play.
Toolkits can be ordered and downloaded free-of-charge online at:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/tbi/Coaches_Tool_Kit.htm. For more information
about concussions, traumatic brain injury, or injury in general, visit the
CDC Injury Center’s website at