Skip to main content

Sports Safety

Prior to the Practice or Game

  • Your child should have a sports physical or general health exam
  • Provide emergency contact and health information to the coach.
  • Be familiar with your coach. Is she/he CPR trained? First aid trained
  • Check that your child is physically and psychologically ready to play and knows the basic skills
  • Check that your child is playing against kids of similar skill, weight, and maturity
  • Check that your child is wearing appropriate safety gear and equipment for the sport
  • Ensure that your child warms up and stretches before playing

During the Practice or Game

  • Ensure adult supervision at all times.
  • Keep children hydrated prior to, during, and following athletic activities.
  • Provide adequate rest breaks.
  • Practice good sportsmanship and play by the rules.
  • Pay attention to changing weather conditions and check the activity area for hazards.

Concussion Safety

  • A concussion is a brain injury.
  • All concussions are serious.
  • Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
  • Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity.
  • Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death.
  • Athletes who have ever had a concussion are at increased risk for another concussion.
  • Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults.
  • A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first—usually within a short period of time (hours, days, or weeks)—can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems

Athletes who experience one or more of the signs or symptoms listed below after being hit, bumped, or having a jolt to the head or body may have a concussion.


  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can’t recall events after hit or fall


  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Just not “feeling right” or is “feeling down”

If you think an athlete may have a concussion, you should:

  1. Remove the athlete from play.
  2. Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says s/he is symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.
  3. Record and share information about the injury, such as how it happened and the athlete’s symptoms, to help a health care provider assess the athlete.
  4. Notify the athlete’s parents or guardians about the possible concussion.  Refer them to their family health care provider. 
  5. Written instructions from the athlete’s health care provider should help the athlete safely return to play. Nebraska passed a Concussion Awareness Act in 2012 that states “An athlete may not return to play until they have been evaluated and received written clearance from a licensed health care professional who is trained in the evaluation and management of brain injuries among a pediatric population.” This will generally include a return to play protocol and a return to learn protocol that should be provided by your licensed health care professional.  See more information at

Before returning to play an athlete should:

  • Be back to doing their regular school activities.
  • Not have any symptoms from the injury when performing normal activities.
  • Have the clearance from their health care provider to begin the return to play process.

For more information go to