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Concussion Awareness

Jeffco Public Schools recognizes the growing concern with injuries resulting in concussion or concussion-like symptoms. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or concussion, in children is a rapidly growing public health concern. Epidemiological data indicates a marked increase in the number of emergency department visits for mild TBI over the past decade. Each year, hundreds of thousands of K-12 students sustain a concussion as a result of a fall, motor vehicle accident, collision on the playground or sports field or other activity.

  • What is a concussion?
  • Know the signs
  • Truths and myths
  • Students and concussion awareness
  • Jeffco Concussion Protocol

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a TBI 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 rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells while creating chemical changes in the brain.

There may be signs of injury to the head, such as bruising or cuts, or there may be no visible injury. A person does not need to be knocked out or lose consciousness to have a concussion. Mild TBIs are not associated with brain damage, and the problems are typically resolved in a few days to a few weeks. Moderate to severe TBIs often require hospitalization and may result in damage to the brain with possible lasting cognitive, academic and psychological challenges.

Know the Signs

Most children or adolescents look physically normal after a concussion. Therefore, school staff may fail to recognize the need for academic or environmental adjustments following a concussion.

Symptoms fall into four domains:


  • headache
  • neck pain
  • blurred vision
  • dizziness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • light sensitivity
  • noise sensitivity

Sleep and energy

  • mental fatigue
  • drowsy
  • excessive sleeping
  • not enough sleep
  • trouble falling asleep


  • mentally foggy
  • difficulty remembering
  • difficulty concentrating
  • slowed processing



  • feeling more emotional
  • Nervous or anxious
  • irritable
  • sad
  • angry

Myths of TBI and Concussion

  • Myth: A concussion is just a “bump to the head”
    • This is false! A concussion is actually a TBI with symptoms that can range from mild to severe.  

  • Myth: It is not a concussion unless there is a loss of consciousness
    • This is false! Most concussions do not involve loss of consciousness. 

  • Myth: You need to wake someone with a concussion every 20 minutes
    • This is false! Once the person has been medically evaluated, it is not dangerous to allow a child or adolescent with a concussion to sleep.  In fact, sleep is encouraged!              

  • Myth: A concussion must be diagnosed by an X-ray, MRI or CAT scan
    • This is false! Concussions cannot be detected by imaging tests as it is a functional injury, not a structural injury.

  • Myth: Your student must stay home in bed until all concussion symptoms have resolved.
    • This is false! It is recommended that your student return to school when symptoms are tolerable, usually within 48-72 hours.

Students and Concussion Awareness

Not all concussions are sports-related and all concussions require a multidisciplinary approach to support recovery. If a student gets a “bump to the head” while at school or during school-related activities, the student will be directed to the health room for support. 

The parent(s) or legal guardian will be contacted and a “bump on the head” letter will be sent home with the student. If the “bump on the head” warrants further attention, the parent(s) or legal guardian will be notified to pick up the student and encouraged to follow up with a medical provider.  

If the student is diagnosed with a concussion or showing signs and symptoms of a possible concussion, the same principle of removal of activity is put in place. It is always recommended that a student be evaluated by a medical provider when a concussion is suspected. 

The graduated return to play will be directed by the clearance from the medical provider and completed by the athletic trainer for student athletes, or completed by the parent(s) or legal guardian at home for elementary, middle school and non-athlete students when they have been symptom-free for 24 hours.  

What this means for all students:

  • Education to staff regarding concussion identification and support.
  • Education regarding the role of each staff member in concussion support.
  • Removal of the student from school day activities.
  • Initiation of Teacher Acute Concussion Tool (TACT) to each teacher who has a student in the class.
  • Return to activity (play) with the medical provider's direction
    • Or a Gradual Return To Play (GRTP) completed by parent(s) or legal guardian at home.

Jeffco Concussion Protocol

The  Jeffco Public Schools Concussion Protocol provides research and evidence-based guidelines to help in the prevention of concussions, the prevention of a second impact injury and to support students with a concussion during the recovery process. This protocol or handbook also provides a framework for the concussion support team to help guide a student to a successful and safe return to learning and play. 

View Jeffco Concussion Protocol

Contact Us

Health Services

Phone: 303-982-7251
Fax: 303-982-6676