Sports Concussion Program

Sports Concussion Program

As a regional leader in health care, CGH Medical Center has a long tradition of providing programs to the community that benefit its health and safety. Illinois State Law requires a health professional to evaluate and to provide consent to an athlete before returning to play after a concussion. The law does not provide specific guidelines on directing the decision about when to safely return an athlete to play. CGH Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality care to local athletes. As part of that commitment and to supplement the current Illinois law, the CGH Sports Concussion Program was developed to achieve three goals:

  • To educate athletes, parents, and coaches about preventing, diagnosing, and treating concussions.
  • To establish a communication network between the coaches, parents, and CGH Sports Concussion Clinic to facilitate the immediate evaluation and care of athletes who sustain a concussion.
  • To provide comprehensive care to athletes with a concussion including specific guidelines for returning an athlete safely to play.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a forceful blow to the head or to the body. For example, an athlete may collide with another player or fall to the ground during a game. In either case, the brain may be injured by direct impact or by the head moving quickly back and forth. Repeated concussions can result in permanent brain damage and, in severe cases, death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimates that as many as 3,900,000 sports-related and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year. This statistic most likely underestimates the true severity of the problem because many concussions are ignored, undiagnosed or unreported. Consequently, athletes do not receive appropriate medical care, which places them at higher risk for significant brain injury.

Although all athletes are at risk for sustaining a concussion during play, concussions are most common in football, soccer, basketball, hockey, and bicycling. The proportion of concussions keeping athletes out of play for at least one day is on the rise. Concussions impair physical mental functions such as behavior, concentration, memory, mood, balance, and strength. Recurrent concussions are linked to the development of long-term brain disease including epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.

Overall, a concussion can have a significant impact on an athlete's activities of daily living, education, physical fitness, and future occupation.

How do I know if an athlete has a concussion?

Communicate with the athlete and ask questions. Become familiar with the symptoms and signs of a concussion. Use them to assess athletes suspected of having a concussion. The following 5 questions can be used as a quick assessment of mental function. If an athlete misses an answer to any one of the questions, a concussion should be suspected, the athlete should be removed from play, and a doctor should be consulted to evaluate the athlete.

  • What venue are we at today?
  • Which half is it now?
  • Who scored last in this game?
  • What team did you play last game?
  • Did your team win the last game?

What step should be taken if an athlete has a concussion?

  • First, the athlete should be removed from play.
  • Second, the athlete should be assessed by a doctor.
  • Third, contact CGH Sports Concussion Clinic for further assessment and treatment.

Download the Sports Concussion Booklet here

Download the Sports Concussion Staff Sheet here

Download Dr. DeFranco's book here

ESPN Donnovan Hill Video

Sports Concussion Newspaper Series:

If you would like more information about the CGH Sports Concussion Program, please fill out the form below or email us here:

Required fields are marked with a

First Name

Last Name


Phone Number



I am interested as a:

Athletic Director
School Official


Characters remaining:

Spam Validation:
Please enter the
text into the
form field below.


© 2017 CGH Medical Center. All Rights Reserved.