Learn about one man's recovery from multiple ACL injuries

Do you know what concussion symptoms to watch for in an athlete? As Dr. Micky Collins explains, “Concussion is nothing we see on a CT scan or an MRI. You have to understand how to look under the hood and know what questions to ask.”

With the proper treatment, you can rehabilitate a concussion just like you can rehabilitate other sports injuries.

Concussion Game Plan

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Concussion Symptoms an Athlete May Report

  • Headache or pressure inside the head
  • Nausea
  • Dizzy or feeling off balance
  • Light and/or noise sensitivity
  • Feeling “foggy” or slowed down
  • Concentration problems
  • One of the major misconceptions of the injury is that you need to lose consciousness. 90% of concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness

Potential Concussion Signs for the Coaching or Medical Staff to Observe if an Athlete Takes a Hit on the Field

  • Loses consciousness
  • Confused or disoriented
  • Off balance/clumsy
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Personality changes
  • Memory problems – forgets plays; doesn’t remember score, opponent, field
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Vomiting

Concussion Action Plan

  1. Remove athlete from play. Do not return until cleared by appropriate medical staff.
  2. Perform sideline evaluation to determine immediate need for medical care (urgent care, emergency room, etc.). If no urgent care is needed, follow up with a health care provider.
  3. Follow up should occur with a health care provider who is trained in concussion management, like UPMC.
  4. Recovery is different for very athlete. Typically, the athlete will experience physical symptoms (headache, dizziness, etc.), cognitive difficulties, sleep changes, and emotional issues. Each athlete will experience different symptoms and will take different periods of time to recover.
  5. Athletes should only be returned to play upon clearance from a health care professional trained in the management and treatment of concussions.

Learn more about our treatment approach to concussions. And, check out some athletes’ stories about their concussions.


About Sports Medicine

Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.