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What is concussion?

Concussion is a traumatic brain injury resulting in a disturbance of brain function. There are many symptoms of concussion, common ones being headache, dizziness, memory disturbance or balance problems.

Find out more from this video from the Australian Institute of Sport.

Loss of consciousness, being knocked out, occurs in less than 10% of concussions. Loss of consciousness is not a requirement for diagnosing concussion.

Typically standard brain scans are normal.

What causes concussion?

Concussion can be caused by a direct blow to the head, but can also occur when blows to other parts of the body result in rapid movement of the head, e.g. whiplash type injuries.

Concussion Facts

  • A concussion is a brain injury.
  • All concussions are serious.
  • Concussions can occur without loss of consciousness.
  • All athletes with any symptoms following a head injury must be removed from playing or training and must not return to activity until all symptoms have cleared.
  • Specifically, return to play on the day of any suspected concussion is forbidden.
  • Recognise and remove to help prevent further injury or even death.
  • Concussion can be fatal.
  • Most concussions recover with physical and mental rest.

Who is at risk?

Concussions can happen at any age. However, children and adolescent athletes:

  • are more susceptible to concussion
  • take longer to recover
  • have more significant memory and mental processing issues.
  • are more susceptible to rare and dangerous neurological complications, including death caused by a single or second impact

Athletes with a history of two or more concussions within the past year are at greater risk of further brain injury and slower recovery and should seek medical attention from practitioners experienced in concussion management before return to play.

Onset of symptoms

It should be noted that the symptoms of concussion can present at any time but typically become evident in the first 24-48 hours following a head injury

This is a summary. IFAF recommends that all federations liaise with their respective health and sporting authorities to ensure that all practitioners are fully informed. 


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