• What is a Concussion?

    A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that interferes with normal brain function. It occurs when the brain is rocked back and forth or twisted inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. What may appear to be only a mild jolt or blow to the head can result in a concussion.

    The understanding of sports-related concussion has evolved dramatically in recent years. We now know that young athletes are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a concussion. Once considered little more than a "ding" on the head, it is now understood that a concussion has the potential to result in short or long-term changes in brain function, or in some cases, death.

    The terms "ding" and "bell-ringer" were once used to refer to minor head injuries and thought to be a normal part of sports. There is no such thing as a minor brain injury. Any suspected concussion must be taken seriously. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. Any force that transmits to the head causes the brain to literally bounce around or twist within the skull, potentially resulting in a concussion. It used to be believed that a player had to lose consciousness or be "knocked out" to have a concussion. This is not true, as the vast majority of concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness. In fact, less than 10% of players actually lose consciousness with a concussion. Once a blow to the head occurs, the brain is vulnerable to further injury and very sensitive to any increased stress until it fully recovers. While there is damage to brain cells, the damage is at a microscopic level and cannot be seen on MRI or CT scans therefore, the brain looks normal on these tests, even though it has been seriously injured.


    Concussion Management Plan

    If you have questions, please feel free to contact Dave Zittleman, Activities Director, Bismarck Public Schools, (701) 323-4079, or by email.


    BPS Concussion Management Plan Document

    Bismarck Public Schools Concussion Management Plan 
    The Bismarck Public School District along their Sports Medicine Provider have established a Concussion Management Plan that will be followed when treating a student-athlete who has or is suspected of having a concussion

    Sanford Sports Medicine Concussion Protocol

    Sports Medicine Concussion Policy 
    Management of sports related concussion for all Sanford Athletic Training employees.

    Sports Concussion-Graduated "Return-to-Play" Protocol

    Sanford Graduated RTP Protocol 

    Guidelines for exercise progression from your Health Care Provider


    ImPact Testing

    Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, the Bismarck Public Schools District required ImPACT baseline testing for all student-athletes grades 9-12 participating in athletics prior to the start of their competitive season. Testing times will be arranged and supervised by a Certified Athletic Trainer. If a student is a multi-sport athlete, the student will only be required to take the baseline exam once.

    For the 2013-2014 school year and every year after, ImPACT baseline testing will required for those student-athletes that fall into one of the following categories:

    1. All 7th grade football players
    2. ALL freshman
    3. ALL juniors
    4. Any student-athlete new to the BPS district
    5. Those students that missed testing the previous year (i.e. someone who plays 10th grade football but did not play 9th grade football or any other sport 9th grade year)
    6. Any 7th or 8th grader that will be up practicing or completing with the varsity and/or junior varsity programs.
    7. Any co-op student athlete that participates on a BPS sponsored team that falls under any one of the above categories

    ImPACT takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. The program measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes, including: Attention span, Working memory, Sustained and selective attention time, Response variability, Non-verbal problem solving, and Reaction time.

    Click Here to learn more about ImPACT.

    ImPACT Concussion Test Info Sheet 

    Read this handout to find out information about how the ImPACT Test can benefit your student-athlete.



    Concussion Education (Free Concussion Managment Course)

    In accordance with North Dakota State Law (NDCC 15.1-18.2-04) regarding concussion management, each official, coach, and athletic trainer receive biennial training regarding the nature and risk of concussion.

    ALL Bismarck Public School District coaches (head, assistant, volunteer, etc.) are required to complete the free Concussion in Sport - What You Need to Know course on the National Federation of State High School Activities website.

    It is highly recommended that every BPS student-athlete and parent/guardian should successfully complete the free 20 minute NFHS online course "Concussion in Sports - What You Need to Know".

    Click HERE for step by step directions on how to register and complete the free NFHS Learn Concussion In Sports course.

    Click HERE to complete the free NFHS Learn Concussion in Sports course.

    This video is part of a free course offered by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The NFHS and CDC have teamed up to provide information and resources to help educate coaches, officials, parents and students on the importance of proper concussion recognition and management in high school sports.

    COACHES: Once the course is completed, a copy of the certificate of completion must be uploaded to Coaches Corner on the employee/PLC Moodle. A certificate from each individual coach is required, this MAY NOT be done as a group activity and one certificate submitted for the group as proof of completion.


    CDC Heads Up - Brain Injury Awareness

    Get a Heads Up in 10! Check out the Heads Up to Parents videos to get tips from experts and hear real-life stories about brain injury and how you can help lower your risks: CLICK HERE to view videos.



    The following forms provide important information in the event a student-athlete has sustained a head, chest or abdominal injury.

    Head Injury Guidelines

    Sports Concussion (Sideline instructions from your Health Care Provider)Sports Medicine Head Injury Guidelines 

    Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Sports Concussion sideline instructions

    NDHSAA Concussion Management

    Click Here for North Dakota High School Activities Association Concussion Manangement Policy.

    NDHSAA Concussion Management Information

    NATA Position Statement: Management of Sport Concussion

    CLICK HERE to view position statement.