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What is a Concussion?

According to the CDC “a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce or twist within the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells” (2019).

Concussions can occur in students from incidents at school, school sports, or accidents at home. Regardless of where the concussion occurred, head injuries can inhibit your child’s performance and safety while at school. It is important to work with your healthcare provider to come up with a plan of reintroduction into school and share those plans with the school nurse.

Possible Signs and Symptoms:


  • Seems confused

  • answers questions slowly

  • can't remember events before or after the hit, bump, or fall

  • loses consciousness (even for a moment)

  • repeats questions

  • has behavior or personality changes


  • Thinking/Remembering:
    • trouble thinking clearly
    • trouble concentrating
    • problems with short- or long-term memory
    • feeling slowed down
    • feeling foggy or groggy
  • Emotional:
    • irritable
    • sad
    • more emotional than usual
    • nervous or anxious
  • Physical:
    • headache
    • nausea and vomiting
    • dizziness or balance problems 
    • feeling tired
    • vision problems
    • bothered by light or noise
    • numbness or tingling
    • does not "feel right"
  • Sleep:
    • sleeps less than usual 
    • sleeps more than usual
    • trouble falling asleep

Helping Students Return to School:

Most students can return to school within a few days of their injury. School nurses, healthcare providers, parents, and teachers can work together to support a student recovering from a concussion. For most students, only short-term changes or support services are needed as they recover. Before choosing the changes you will make:

  • Work with the student’s healthcare provider, teacher, and parents to identify the type and length of activities the student can handle. Create a plan with the student’s teachers for addressing any missed schoolwork.
  • Tailor the plan to each student. Take into account the student’s age, types of symptoms, pre-injury academic performance, and emotional state.
  • Coordinate classroom accommodations with your student’s teachers and other school professionals so that the student can have the same level of support throughout the school day

If symptoms do not worsen during an activity, then this activity is OK for the student. If symptoms do worsen, the student should cut back on time spent engaging in that activity and may need additional support at school. If there are any symptoms that concern you or seem to be getting worse, notify the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) that the student should be seen by a healthcare provider as soon as possible

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