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Concussion can occur in many different situations.

It could happen if you:

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What is Concussion

Concussion is a brain injury which is usually caused by hitting your head or a fall. It can happen at any time, anywhere: for example while taking part in sports, in the school playground or even at home. It can happen as a result of a collision with another player during, for example, a football, rugby or Gaelic match but it can also happen, for example, by falling off a bike, a wall or ladders or by falling down stairs. Concussion can also occur if you hit your head jumping into a shallow pool or falling on a hard surface such as concrete or ice.

Concussion must always be taken seriously, especially if it occurs a second time. A suspected concussion should always be reported to a teacher, parent, coach or referee immediately. The person affected should stop doing what they are doing and not continue until they have been seen by a doctor.

Remember: If in doubt, sit it out.

Pocket Concussion recognition Tool

To help identify concussion in children, youth and adults. Please also see the Pocket CONCUSSION RECOGNITION TOOL™.

Concussion should be suspected if one or more of the following visible clues, signs, symptoms or errors in memory questions are present.

As both a player and coach it is vital that we are aware of the signs and risks of concussion and equally as important that young people showing those signs are removed from participation until fully recovered. If any of my young athletes get a knock or show signs of concussion I immediately remove them from activity. As a player who has received countless stitches to my head there has never been a stage when I have returned to play after getting a knock. I fully endorse the message of 'IF IN DOUBT, SIT IT OUT'.

- Shirley McCay Talent Coach, Ulster Hockey Union

Experience has shown us that it is essential that Coaches and Teachers take a player out of a game or training if there is any suspicion that they have sustained a head injury and possible concussion. In Gaelic Games we have some excellent examples where coaches have taken the right decision and sat the player down despite it being an important game. The welfare of the player is paramount and takes precedence at all times over the result.

- Dr. Eugene Young Director of Coaching and Games Development, Ulster GAA

The IRFU strategy in relation to concussion education clearly identifies that everyone has a part to play. From player to coaches and parents to spectators we need to change the culture in relation to concussion. Our strategy is working, with more people than ever before talking and thinking about concussion education, and we are pleased to work with our colleagues in Ulster Rugby and the Department of Education on this important issue for all sports.

- Dr. Rod McLoughlin IRFU Head of Medical Services

Concussion can happen anywhere from the school playground to sports pitches. It is important that we are all able to recognise the signs and symptoms of concussion, remove the person from the activity, report the incident to our teachers, coaches and parents, rest and return to activity once we have been given the all clear. Ulster Rugby and the IRFU encourage all schoolchildren to be aware of concussion and enjoy sports activity and we are therefore delighted to support this exciting initiative that places concussion at the forefront of our children's education.

- Dr. Michael Webb Team Doctor, Ulster Rugby

If any child suffers a head injury and shows any signs of concussion they should be removed from that activity and be assessed by a qualified person. It is important that children, their parents, their coaches and other adults responsible for them are aware of risks associated with concussion. We all want children to possess a healthy and active lifestyle and it is equally important that all steps are made to keep them safe. The message is recognise, remove and assess and if in doubt sit it out.

- Michael O’Neill Northern Ireland International Manager