Concussions & CTE

This week, many schools around the state will be getting back to school, and this ultimately means the beginning of high school football season. Through the summer, I've been performing a lot of sports physicals and back to school physicals, and an important topic that I bring up is concussions.

According to our friends at, a concussion is a type of Traumatic Brain Injury which is defined as a sudden damage to your head. Many associate football with concussions, but other sports including soccer, can also result in concussions. And, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has rules for athletes determined to have concussions.

Signs and Symptoms of Concussion:

  • Loss Of Consciousness
  • Headache
  • Confusion or Memory Problems
  • Dizziness or Balance Problems

OHSAA Rules For Athletes With Concussions:

  • Unable to return to play the same day, under no circumstances
  • For return to play, required to have written authorization from a physician (MD or DO) or certified athletic trainer

There has been a lot in the press about CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Symptoms generally appear 8-10 years after an athlete experiences repeated concussions. It is generally believed that CTE occurs in four stages.

Stages of CTE: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

  • Stage 1: Disorientation, dizziness, headaches
  • Stage 2: Memory loss, erratic behavior, poor judgement
  • Stage 3/4: Dementia, movement disorders, tremors, suicidality

Back to school is always an exciting time. But, as school sports progresses, make sure your review the signs and symptoms of concussion. And, as always, if any questions, please reach out to your Family Physician.