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Concussion awareness

Although many people associate concussions with contact sports such as football or soccer, a concussion can occur to anyone, of any age, in nearly any setting. Camps and conference centers may experience concussions resulting from activities, slips and trips, or even after a fall from a bunk bed.

Recent studies and advancements in medical technology are shedding light on this common yet dangerous injury. While many concussions are “mild”, some have the potential to turn deadly. Therefore, all concussions or head injuries need to be taken seriously to protect those suffering an injury as well as your organization.

Understanding concussions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define a concussion as a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) “caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head leading to an interruption of normal brain function”. A TBI can range in severity from “mild” to “severe”, depending on how the person is affected by the injury. Repeated concussions, or a lack of treatment, can cause serious problems such as permanent damage or even death.

Preventing head injuries

Basic safety precautions can be very impactful in preventing head injuries and protecting people from suffering concussions. These may differ by activity, but start with these tips:

General safety

  • Review walking surfaces and correct slip, trip, and fall hazards indoors and out.

  • Use non-skid mats and caution signs in areas prone to wet floors.

  • Improve lighting in walkways and outside your building.

  • Make sure stairways have proper railings and are clear of obstacles.

  • Draw attention to protrusions or low-hanging obstacles on which someone might bump their head.

  • Encourage the use of non-slip footwear and proper technique when working at heights.

Sports and activity safety

  • Request an indemnity agreement before allowing campers to

  • Use/require helmets or protective gear approved by ASTM when necessary.

  • Make sure helmets or head gear fit properly and are undamaged.

  • Sports and activities should be supervised at all times by staff trained to spot signs of a possible concussion and respond based on a concussion protocol.

  • Review the area and equipment being used and correct hazards such as damaged equipment.

  • Inspect playgrounds to ensure they have adequate surface fill, are in good repair, and are free from unnecessary hazards.

Recognizing the symptoms

Awareness of a concussion is critical in preventing permanent or more severe damage from being done. Learn to recognize the symptoms of a concussion and train others to spot these as well. Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating

  • Headache, nausea, dizziness, or sensitivity to noise or light

  • Changes in mood (irritability anxiety, etc.)

  • Changes in regular sleep patterns

Anyone suspected of suffering a concussion needs to be seen by a health care professional. According to the CDC, emergency medical attention should be sought when:

  • Headache worsens or vomiting continues

  • Person is very drowsy or cannot wake up

  • Person loses consciousness or has seizures

See other danger signs from the CDC.

Responding to a concussion

Promptly responding to a suspected concussion can mean the difference between a relatively minor injury and long term damage or death. Plan ahead so you are prepared to act appropriately following a head injury.

When children are injured:

  • Have an action plan in place to spot and address signs of a concussion.

  • Remove the child from activities and contact parents / guardians as soon as possible.

  • Do not allow the child to participate in activities unless they are cleared by a medical professional.

  • Seek emergency medical treatment as needed.

  • Document the cause of the injury, the symptoms noted, and how you responded.

When adults are injured:

  • Encourage anyone with a potential head injury to report and get medical attention. Seek emergency medical treatment as needed

  • Document the cause of the injury, the symptoms noted, and your response

When an employee is injured:

  • Contact Church Mutual’s Nurse Hotline for immediate medical advice. Seek emergency medical treatment as needed.

  • Document the cause of the injury, the symptoms noted, and your response


We’re here to help! For additional questions, contact Church Mutual’s Risk Control Central.