Certainly playing a contact sport like hockey, especially on the professional level, comes with the risk of injury. Injuries are part of a professional athlete's life. But injuries can also take place on a pee-wee football field, the ski slopes, or a local bike path. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1.6-3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year. And women and girls are just as likely as men and boys to sustain a brain injury playing sports.
Why Are Kids at Greater Risk of Sports Concussion than Adults?
Dr. Robert Cantu explains why the brains of children are more vulnerable to concussion — from nerve fibers in the brain that are more easily torn apart to the size discrepancy between their large skulls and little necks.
A Concussion Is Too Serious to "Play Around With"
Dr. Robert Cantu explains in no uncertain terms that the brain is not replaceable and if a concussion is mismanaged, it can lead to permanent injury.
Strengthening Neck Muscles Helps Prevent Concussion
Dr. Robert Cantu talks about ways kids can use simple resistance exercises to strengthen their neck muscles, which in turn helps them be less vulnerable to concussion.
The Four "Baskets" of Concussion Symptoms
Dr. Robert Cantu explains the four "baskets" of concussion symptoms parents should know about: emotional, cognitive, sleep, and physical.
What Does a Thorough Baseline Test Entail?
Dr. Robert Cantu talks about the importance of athletes having a comprehensive baseline test and neurologic assessment at the start of the season, and how those tests should ideally be administered.
Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Youth Sports
The benefit of sports for kids far outweigh the risks, especially if athletes, coaches, and parents realize sports are for fun and health, they are not a career.
Ahead of the Game
Learn more about the good and bad news about identifying and treating youth concussions.
One Key Action Parents Can Take to Keep Their Young Athletes Safe
From bike to football helmets, parents should check their children's sports equipment each year to make sure it fits properly and meets current safety standards.
Keeping Youth Athletes Safe Whether on Rural or Urban Team Sidelines
Not every team has a medical expert or athletic trainer on the sidelines to test players after a suspected concussion. But there are simple guidelines and resources to help.
Infographic: TBI in Kids and Teens Can Impact School Performance
Did you know that US emergency departments treat more than 170,000 sports- and recreation-related TBIs, including concussions, in children and teens, each year? Learn from and share this important infographic.
A Portable Device to Detect TBI on the Sidelines
Learn about a new low-cost, portable device to detect possible neurocognitive symptoms after a TBI.
30 Second Message to Help Prevent Sports-Related Brain Injury
Tell young athletes to keep an eye on their teammates. If a player seems impaired from a head to the head, they need to speak up to get that teammate safely off the field.
The Next Big Steps to Help Prevent Sports-Related Concussions
Christopher Nowinski explains that big concussions in sports are finally being appropriately diagnosed, but 80-95% of the "littler" ones are still going undiagnosed.
No Need to Subject Kids to Repetitive Brain Trauma in Sports
Until contact sports are safer, Chris Nowinski would hold off as long as possible before letting his future children play games where repetitive brain trauma is commonplace.
More Findings About Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
There are limits to how many times a ball player can throw a ball before damaging his shoulder, but there are no limits to how many times an athlete can get hit in the head without permanent damage.
Christopher Nowinski on the Nuances of Brain Injury in Children
Research shows that TBI in children is far worse than in adults — with longer recovery time and greater future risk. New rules and awareness are helping but there's more work to be done.
Head Games, the Film
A powerful documentary that explores the question, “How much of you are you willing to lose for a game?”
First On-Field Soccer Impact Study
Collisions. Headers. Goalpost run-ins. What contributes most to the frequency of concussions in the soccer, particularly among young girls?
Being Strict with Return-to-Play Guidelines
An athlete should never be returned to play after a concussion until all symptoms have been resolved and he or she has been cleared by a licensed provider.
High Index of Concussion Suspicion Needed on the Sidelines
Concussions can be subtle and often invisible. That's why coaches, parents, and teammates need to have a high index of suspicion.
Dr. Julian Bailes: Should We Be Worried About Subconcussive Blows in Sports?
More research is needed to determine if subconcussive blows — repetitive hits to the head not diagnosed or suspected as concussions — are deleterious.
Dr. Julian Bailes: The Pros of Contact Sports
Kids should play contact sports for many positive reasons but not if the kid has had three or more concussions.
Tracy's Story: The End of an Athlete's Career
"If you think you have a concussion, don't hide it, report it ... I didn't know it could get this bad."
A Mother's Intuition
After her son sustained a TBI while playing football, one mother took the ball and ran with it to raise awareness.
How Many Concussions Are Too Many for a Young Athlete?
Err on the side of caution; “when in doubt, sit it out.”
REAP the Benefits of Good Concussion Management
A guide for every family, school, and medical professional to create a community-based concussion management program.
The CDC's Heads Up! Toolkits
Free for teachers, parents, coaches, and kids, learn about the CDC's Heads Up! toolkits.
Professional and Youth Sports Leagues Work Together for Safety
Many professional sports have supportive alliances with youth sports. Learn how the CDC helps.
Recommendations for Young Athletes
Youth athletes need to be removed from play and evaluated by a TBI specialist after a hit to the head.
Identifying a TBI: A Teacher's Role
Teachers are often the first to notice that something may be wrong with a student from a hit during sports.
Roller Sports Safety
Stats about roller sports and injury as well as prevention tips.
Did you know that the highest proportion of injury events involving multiple injuries are due to riding animals?
Did you know that a child can drown in an inch of water? Learn how to keep safe near water.
Making Kids' Sports Safer
Blatant hits and fouls are not necessary in kids' sports; rule changes could make sports safer.
Return to Play Guidelines
An athlete should not return to play until all of his symptoms — physical and cognitive — have cleared up.
Should You Let Your Child Play Contact Sports?
A doctor/parent talks about trying to find a balance between the benefits and dangers of letting his children play contact sports.
Sports and Concussion: “When in Doubt, Sit It Out”
Suggestions for keeping young athletes safe in games where helmets are not required.
Opinion: Surgeon Tackles Brain Injury in Youth Sports
Would you let your young kids play contact sports? Read what one father/pediatric neurosurgeon has to say about sports concussions.
ACTive: Free Concussion Training for Sports Coaches
An indispensable and absolutely must-use tool for all coaches — from peewee to pro sports.
8 Top Tips for Safe Summer Sports
Eight easy ways to keep your summer adventures safe and exciting!
How Can Parents Help Educate Their Children’s Coaches About Concussion?
Don’t worry about seeming like an overprotective mom or dad … share your knowledge and keep your child safe on and off the field.
Why Is It So Hard to Keep Cheerleaders Safe?
Cheerleading is a real sport with real injuries — like brain injuries. It's time to take notice.
When Is It Safe to Return to Play After a Concussion?
An important new law evens the playing field.
Dr. James Kelly Talks About Children, Helmets, and Concussion
BrainLine sat down with Dr. Kelly to talk about how TBI affects children differently from adults, the use and design of helmets, and how parents can best deal with concussion in their child.
Concussion and Sports: Know Your Game!
Concussions are like snowflakes — not one is exactly like another.
Concussions: Is Your Young Athlete at Risk?
Learn why letting a child return to play after a concussion can be extremely dangerous.
America's favorite sport — football — has a serious problem.
Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports
This toolkit teaches coaches, athletes, and parents how to play it safe.
Learn how to prevent TBI — from wearing a seatbelt to to using nonslip mats in the bathtub.
Which Helmet for Which Activity?
All helmets are not created equal. Learn what to choose to prevent head injury.
Safe ATV Operation: Frequently Asked Questions
Learn the standard guidelines, legal requirements, manufacturers' recommendations, and state regulations for ATVs.
Atención: Concusión cerebral en los deportes de la escuela secundaria (hoja informativa para los atletas)
La conmoción cerebral puede ocurrir sin que la persona pierda el conocimiento. Esta hoja informativa ofrece información a los atletas sobre prevención, reconocimiento y reacción frente a una conmoción.
Atención con las conmociones cerebrales en las escuelas: Hoja informativa para los padres
¿Qué es una conmoción cerebral y cuáles son los signos observados por los padres o tutores?
ATV Safety Fact Sheet
These 600+-lb. vehicles can be fun, but dangerous. Learn more.