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Coronavirus Update: What patients and families need to know

For Coaches

Athletic organizations, trainers, and coaches need to recognize and respond to a suspected concussion, and then facilitate treatment if one of their athletes is injured. It is important that all adults in a young athlete’s life support full recovery.

We define full recovery as:

  • No active post-concussive symptoms (physical and cognitive) at rest or with exertion
  • Neurocognitive functioning is back to pre-injury level
  • No problems with balance or coordination
  • No other associated medical or neurological complications


  • All concussions are serious
  • Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness
  • Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury
  • When in doubt, sit them out

The risk of incomplete recovery: Premature return to overexertion (physical and cognitive) can mean a prolonged recovery and even increased likelihood of re-injury. A child or teen who returns to practice or play when he or she still has symptoms is at significant risk for a more severe or potentially catastrophic injury. Please consult with medical staff about any child or teen’s readiness to return to the game.

Easing the young athlete back into practice and play: Only when an athlete’s symptoms are gone, and in consultation with their healthcare professional, should he or she slowly and gradually return to sports practice, following a Progressive Activity Program. When available, be sure to work closely with the team’s certified athletic trainer.

What Children’s National offers:

The Children’s National SCORE program partners with coaches across the DC/Maryland/Virginia region – and beyond – to support them in recognizing and responding to concussions in their players. If you are interested in learning about concussion education or further consultation please contact us.

Play Smart, Your Brain Matters

This year, Children’s National and MedStar were chosen as the first in the nation to receive funding to establish a concussion awareness training program that will help enforce the protocols of the District’s Athletic Concussion Protection Act of 2011.

Learn more about the Play Smart, Your Brain Matters program

Resources for Athletic Organizations and Coaches:


General information:

Helpful resources and websites:

Smart Phone & Tablet Apps for Youth Concussions

Smart Phone & Tablet Apps for Youth Concussions

Gerard Gioia, PhD, Director of the SCORE Concussion program at Children’s National, has collaborated with colleagues at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and PAR Inc. to develop smart phone and tablet applications (apps) for youth coaches, parents, professional trainers, and healthcare professionals to help them recognize and respond to concussions.

The app for youth coaches and parents integrates information that Dr. Gioia developed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Heads Up initiative. Parents and coaches answer basic questions about the signs (what they observe) and symptoms (what an injured athlete reports) to determine if the athlete has suffered a suspected concussion and how to respond. Additionally, an email interface allows detailed information taken on the field to be sent immediately to the athlete’s parents and physician.

The app for healthcare professionals, called the Concussion Assessment and Response™: Sport Version (CARE-Sport Version) helps athletic trainers, team physicians, and other qualified health care professionals assess the likelihood of a concussion and respond quickly and appropriately to this potentially serious medical situation. From the instant a player is injured, the app guides trainers and healthcare professionals through a survey that helps rule out a cervical spine injury, evaluate concussion signs and symptoms, and assess cranial nerve function.

Dr. Gioia recently demonstrated how the app for youth coaches and parents works, illustrating the step-by-step questions used to determine whether an athlete may have suffered a concussion and including how to respond to a potential injury.

Download the Apps

For coaches and parents:

For athletic trainers and healthcare professionals: