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Student Athlete Wellness


To ensure student-athletes remain healthy, it’s important parents, guardians, family members, coaches, and the players themselves are aware of the risks associated with concussions and sudden cardiac arrest. It is important that student-athletes who may have suffered a concussion or experienced warning signs associated with sudden cardiac arrest be removed from athletic activity and examined by a healthcare professional.

Please review the materials on this page for complete information about concussion and sudden cardiac arrest symptoms and risks.

Concussion Awareness

A concussion is a head (brain) injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or blow to the body. Because teens’ brains are still developing, concussions can result in problems with thinking, memory, learning, coordination, balance, speech, hearing, vision, and emotional changes.

It’s important to note most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness and symptoms can occur immediately after an injury or hours/days later. Therefore it is important for the athlete and his/her family to monitor any changes that may occur after a blow to the head or body.

Signs of a concussion, that may be visible to others, include:

  • Dazed or stunned appearance
  • Uncertain of score, game, opponent
  • Clumsy
  • Answers more slowly than usual
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Loss of consciousness (even briefly)
  • Repeats questions
  • Forgets course schedule or assignments

Concussion symptoms experienced by the athlete can include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty thinking clearly/remembering/concentrating
  • Sensitivity to noise/light
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Irritable, sad, or feeling more emotional than usual
  • Sleeps more or less than usual

If a student-athlete experiences concussion symptoms, or is aware of a teammate experiencing symptoms, they should immediately share this information with their coach. Players with concussion symptoms should seek medical attention right away. For their safety and wellbeing, players experiencing  concussion symptoms will be removed from play. The athlete can only return to play (and other school activities) with permission from a healthcare provider.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness 

While rare, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the number one medical cause of death among student-athletes. SCA occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating (cardiac arrest) and no blood is pumped to the body. Cardiac arrest usually causes death if it is not treated with cardiopulmonary resuscitation and/or an automated external defibrillator within minutes.

Because many youth may be unaware of an existent heart problem, students and their families should report any unexplained deaths or histories of heart issues in their family to their healthcare providers.

If athletes experience any of the following when exercising, they should stop exercising immediately: 

  • Fainting/passing out
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain/tightness with exertion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Unusual fatigue/weakness
  • Heart palpitations (heart is unusually fast or skipping beats)

If an athlete has any warning signs of SCA while exercising, they should immediately tell their coach/parents/guardians and seek medical attention and evaluation from a healthcare provider before returning to a game or practice.