Prevention There are several things that can be done to help prevent a concussion: Helmets should be worn while bicycling, rollerblading, skateboarding, riding a scooter, skiing, snowboarding, or riding a horse.* Proper enforcement of rules can also help to prevent concussion by reducing risky or overly aggressive play. Proper technique in sports, such as playing with your head up in hockey, tackling without using the head in football or rugby, and heading the ball correctly in soccer may reduce trauma to the head. Additionally, steps can be taken to educate athletes, coaches, parents, referees, and others about the potentially serious problems that can follow a concussion, especially if the athlete returns to play too soon. It is also important to remember that the effects of a concussion can sometimes be hard to detect, and may only be recognized by someone who knows about the signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury. *Although there is no convincing medical evidence that helmets or mouth guards reduce the risk of concussion, they clearly reduce the risk of other head and mouth injuries and are required in sports such as football and lacrosse. When a player shows ANY signs or symptoms of a concussion: The player should NOT be allowed to return to play in the current game or practice. The player should not be left alone, and regular monitoring for deterioration is essential over the initial few hours following the injury. The player should be medically evaluated following the injury. Return to play must follow a supervised step-by-step process and the decision should be made by a qualified medical professional. Since it is an “invisible” injury, careful observation after concussion is especially important. Athletes may downplay or minimize their symptoms so they can return to play before it is medically safe to do so.