The Truth About Coaches and Concussion

The Truth About Coaches and Concussion

Recently released results from a UPMC study conducted online in April by Harris Poll among 2,012 U.S. adults found that half (50%) of U.S. parents believe that their child’s schools and coaches are adequately trained to deal with concussions.

The truth is that while most coaches are aware of concussion safety regulations, they are not trained in concussion diagnosis and management.

Coaches do, however, play a very important role in helping athletes stay healthy.  For example, coaches can:coaches and concussion

  • Help athletes learn and practice proper form, which can help to minimize chances of injury
  • Spot hits and injuries and remove an athlete from play
  • Recognize when their athletes are displaying signs and symptoms of concussion

Who’s Here to Help

In the event of a head injury, a player should immediately be removed from play. A certified athletic trainer (ATC), if available, would then perform a sideline evaluation in order to determine the next best course of action. Neurocognitive exams are useful in making this determination, which is why it is important for athletes to have baseline exams prior to the start of the season. Athletes should be cleared by a medical professional trained in concussion management before returning to play.

These are very important safety steps to follow. After sustaining a concussion the brain is in an extremely vulnerable state and more susceptible to additional injury.

The study also revealed that 77 percent of U.S. adults understand that no athlete should be allowed to return to play after sustaining a concussion. However, that also means that 23 percent of adults do not know this important fact.

As concussion awareness grows, more coaches and schools are working to help athletes avoid this injury. But ultimately, the decision of diagnosis, treatment, and return-to-play should be left to a trained medical professional.


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of UPMC between April 16-23, 2015 among 2,012 U.S. adults age 18 or older, 948 of whom are parents.  For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Deana Percassi, Harris Poll, (585) 214-7212.