mayerJeffrey V. Mayer, MD, CAQSM with a player. 

MedStar Harbor Hospital is home to a comprehensive concussion program, specializing in the treatment of sports-related concussions. The team includes physicians, certified athletic trainers and rehabilitation specialists. Because the recovery process is different for everyone, the team treats every patient as an individual and makes sure each one gets the best treatment for his or her particular situation using a multi-modal, whole-body approach to care.  

Recognizing Concussions

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury causing an immediate and, usually short-lived change in mental status or an alternation of normal consciousness resulting from a bump, blow, jolt, shaking or spinning of the head or body.

  • Concussions do not always involve a loss of consciousness. ANY traumatic blow to the head or to another part of the body (which causes a whiplash effect to the head) should be considered as a mechanism of concussion injury. While headache is the most common symptom of concussion, all people will experience concussion differently. Therefore, all of the potential signs and symptoms of concussion should be considered.
  • An injured student suspected of having a concussion should be immediately removed from the practice or contest and evaluated by the appropriate qualified person. However, the injured student may not re-enter the practice or contest, nor participate in subsequent practices or contests until cleared by an appropriate medical professional. For more information, please see our Head Injury Guidelines at

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Loss of orientation
Balance problems
Memory problems
“Bell rung”
Dazed or Confused
Numbness or tingling
Double vision

Poor concentration
Easily distracted
Personality changes
“Glassy Eyed”
Excessive sleep
Ringing in the ears
Feeling “in a fog”
Seeing “stars”
Feeling “slowed down”

Sensitivity to light
Inappropriate emotions
Change in personality
Sensitivity to noise
Sleep disturbance
Loss of consciousness
Vacant stare

All athletes who get “rocked” or “dinged” and exhibit any of these signs or symptoms should be referred immediately to the athletic trainer and/or physician. If a question exists and no medical personnel are available, emergency transport (ambulance) the athlete to a hospital.

Return to Play

Return to play should occur in gradual steps beginning with light aerobic exercise only to increase your heart rate (e.g. stationary cycle); moving to increasing your heart rate with movement (e.g. running); then adding controlled contact if appropriate; and finally return to sports competition. Pay careful attention to your symptoms and your thinking and concentration skills at each stage or activity. After completion of each step without recurrence of symptoms, you can move to the next level of activity the next day. Move to the next level of activity only if you do not experience any symptoms at the present level. If your symptoms return, let your health care provider know, return to the first level and restart the program gradually.

Day 1: Low levels of physical activity include walking, light jogging, light stationary biking, and light weightlifting.
Day 2: Moderate levels of physical activity with body/head movement. This includes moderate jogging, brief running, moderate intensity on the stationary cycle, moderate intensity weightlifting.
Day 3: Heavy non‐contact physical activity. This includes sprinting/running, high intensity stationary cycling, completing the regular lifting routine, non‐contact sport specific drills.
Day 4: Sports Specific practice
Day 5: Full contact in a controlled drill or practice.
Day 6: Return to competition