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Concussion Education

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell run, “ or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.

You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the
symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.


  • Teach proper skating technique (head up to see surroundings, knee bend for proper balance) and how to correctly give and receive a hit (see USAHockey.com for material). This is applicable for both boys and girls.
  • Helmets must fit securely around the head and be fastened tightly.
  • Perform neck strengthening exercises.
  • Do not allow players to play in a dangerous manner. The attitude of the coach and parent plays a role in a player’s aggressiveness.
  • Teach your players about the prevention, management, and treatment of concussions.
  • Encourage all players to get a baseline test performed by health care professionals. Baseline tests enable medical staff to more accurately diagnose the severity of a concussion and monitor the athlete's readiness for returning to play.

Assessing a Potential Concussion

The following are tools that can be used to assess a player if you suspect a concussion. These are not diagnostic tools. For proper diagnosis, the player should always be seen by a health care professional.

MEMORY: Ask the player questions they should know the answer to, such as date, period, opponent.
FOCUS: Talk with the player, are they focusing on the conversation? Able to speak with coherent sentences?
PHYSICAL TEST: Ask the player to touch their finger to their nose numerous times, is the player able to do this properly?

While assessing the player, keep in mind the most common signs and symptoms of concussions.


If you suspect a player has a concussion, you should take the following steps:

  1. Remove athlete from play, keep him/her supervised, and alert the athlete's parents of the signs and symptoms.  This is required of youth coaches and officials by Minnesota State Law.
  2. Ensure athlete is evaluated by an informed health care professional. Do not try to judge the seriousness of the injury yourself.
  3. Inform the athlete’s parents of Minnesota Hockey's suggested “Return to Play” guidelines.

Return to Play Guidelines

These guidelines are meant to act as a suggestion for players after they suffer a concussion. The length of each phase varies depending on the severity of the concussion and the individual. Players should continue to the next phase only if all the signs and symptoms of a concussion are gone.  An informed health care professional should be consulted throughout the return to play protocol, especially if the signs and symptoms continue or reappear at any time.

Concussion News

  • What is Baseline Testing?

  • 04/07/2014, 8:30am CDT, By National Dizzy & Balance Center
  • National Dizzy and Balance Center answers key questions about baseline testing and how it relates to concussion management
  • Read More

Minnesota Hockey's Concussion Protocol & Guidelines

The Minnesota Hockey Board has officially adopted this protocol and its guidelines in accordance with Minnesota State Law.

Concussion 101

Dr. Mike Evans provides an easy-to-understand introduction to the dangers of concussions and the mystery surrounding concussion treatment.

Concussions in Hockey

Hal Tearse, Former Minnesota Hockey Coach-In-Chief & Current Safety Committee Chair discusses concussions, signs, symptoms, recovery time and prevention.

Concussion Partner

National Dizzy and Balance Center (NDBC) is the official baseline testing partner of Minnesota Hockey.  NDBC has a team of Medical Doctors, Neuro Psychologists, Neuro Radiologists, Audiologists, and Physical Therapists all specifically trained in the field of treating brain injuries and concussions.

No other facilities in the Midwest area can match NDBC's unique ability to provide IMPACT neuropsychological baseline and post-concussion testingComputerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP) for postural stability and functional deficits, and a complete neurotologic balance assessment.

Contact NDBC to hear about their team and school group discounts for baseline testing packages at one of their four metro location. Please call Jennifer Ginkel at 952-913-2907 for more information and scheduling.