About Health and Safety

Part of the NCAA’s core mission is to provide student-athletes with a competitive environment that is safe and ensures fair play. While each school is responsible for the welfare of its student-athletes, the NCAA provides leadership by establishing safety guidelines, playing rules, equipment standards, drug testing procedures and research into the cause of injuries to assist decision making.

The Committee on Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports serves to provide expertise and leadership to the NCAA in order to provide a healthy and safe environment for student-athletes through research, education, collaboration and policy development. The committee is made up of 20 members who serve four-year terms, each of which comes from medical, administrative, legal, coaching or student-athlete backgrounds. View the current roster here.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a concussion?

It’s a brain injury that changes a person’s behavior, thinking or physical functioning. They are typically caused by forceful blows to the head or body that result in rapid movement of the head.

What are the signs of a concussion?

They can be difficult to spot since most don’t lead to a loss of consciousness, and other symptoms can show up hours, or even days, after the injury. They can include: Amnesia; confusion; headaches; loss of consciousness; balance problems; double or fuzzy vision; sensitivity to light or noise; nausea; feeling sluggish; concentration or memory problems; slowed reaction time; feeling unusually irritable.

How can they be prevented?

Concussions can’t be eliminated completely, but precautions and proper treatment can reduce the risks of injury and help student-athletes recover. To those means, the NCAA adopted legislation in Aug. 2010 that requires each member institution to develop its own concussion management plan for reducing the risks and safely treating the injuries.

What if a student-athlete gets a concussion in a game?

First, they should be removed from play as soon as a concussion is suspected and evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional, such as a certified athletic trainer, team physician or a health care professional experienced in concussion evaluation and management. Athletes with a concussion are not allowed to return to the game that day. They should not return to play until all symptoms have been resolved during rest and exertion. A health care professional with experience in evaluating concussions should clear the student-athlete before returning to play is considered.

The NCAA has taken a leading role in ensuring that athletes are properly protected from and treated for concussions. The injury, even in mild forms, is recognized as a type of traumatic brain injury that requires medical attention and monitoring. Concussions can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that can change the way your brain normally works. Symptoms are unique for each athlete, with estimates suggesting that 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreation-related activities every year. Many are difficult to detect, and athletes may underreport their injuries. But by knowing the facts about concussion and taking proper steps to treatment, we can help all athletes enjoy healthy careers.


2012-13 Sports Medicine Handbook

Video: Concussions - Don't Hide It, Report It, Take Time to Recover

NCAA Partnership Strives to Prevent Concussions in Youth Football

CDC and NCAA Team Up on Concussion Safety

Concussion Symptoms Awareness Poster for Men's Sport and for Women's Sport

Behind the Blue Disk: NCAA Approach to Concussions

Concussion Fact Sheet for Student-Athletes

Concussion Fact Sheet for Coaches

NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook Guideline: “Concussion or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in the Athlete”

Football Rules and Hitting Defenseless Players

23 Sport-Specific Concussion Awareness

Concussion Symptoms Awareness for Men's Sport

Concussion Symptoms Awareness for Women's Sport

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Last Updated: Oct 29, 2012