Concussion Awareness: Getting School Psychologists into the Game

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NASP Communique


Concussions have been called a "silent epidemic" because symptoms can be subtle and covert (Langolis, Rutland–Brown,& Thomas, 2006). However, several high–profile concussion cases involving professional athletes have turned media attention to concussions. Those stories, coupled with stories on the more than 300,000 troops who have sustained concussions during recent combat (Hoge, Goldberg,& Castro, 2009), have helped to increase our awareness of the potential impact of concussions. However, in the sports world, it is not just NFL football players sustaining concussions: It is school–age athletes knocking heads in soccer, knocking helmets in hockey, getting slammed to the mat in wrestling, and falling during stunts in cheerleading. We must also understand that concussions affecting school children go beyond sports: Car accidents, fights, falls, abuse, and collisions during recreational play can all lead to concussions. In fact, 80% to 90% of all traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild and only 20% of those are sports–related (Lewandowski & Reiger, 2009). Thus, although concussions involving adult athletes have received a great deal of press, young children and adolescents are more likely to get a concussion, to get them off the playing field, and to take longer to recover than adults (Buzzini & Guskiewicz, 2006; Centers for Disease Control, 2007; Langlois, Rutland–Brown, & Wald, 2006).


National Association of School Psychologists