Definition of concussion

The definition of concussion is complex and relates to a series of pathophysiological processes affecting the brain which are induced by mechanical forces.
Concussion is a subset of mild traumatic brain injury characterised by a set of neurological symptoms & signs which typically rise rapidly and resolve spontaneously.
Recovery is variable from person to person, sport to sport and injury to injury

Complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces
4th Int’l Symposium on Concussion in Sport (Zurich, 2012) Organized by FIFA, IIHF, IOC

Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and is defined as a complex pathophysiology process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces. It is characterised by a graded set of neurological symptoms and signs that typically arise rapidly and resolve spontaneously over a sequential course. The process of recovery, however, varies from person to person and injury to injury.

Sports Medicine Australia 2014

When defining concussion it is important to recognise that the diagnosis is subjective and that the signs and symptoms are often indistinct and highly variable.
There is no direct and definitive test for concussion.

A series of sideline and dressing room assessment tool have been developed to assist in the clinical decision-making process, however none is universally acceptable providing a diagnosis on its own.
We are available, being able to compare cognitive tests to baseline studies performed by the beginning of an athlete’s career or even the beginning of that season is invaluable in demonstrating changes to thought processes which have occurred as the result of the injury.

Objective data relating to impacts suffered to the head or transmitted through the body are now available so that the forced to which the brain has been subjected can be analysed and integrated into the overall assessment of the player and their injury.

Concussion in sport is:

  • a subset of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI)
  • subjectively diagnosed on the field (signs and symptoms often indistinct)
  • not identifiable on CT or MRI scans
  • different in each player
  • variable in its clinical course
  • linked to short and long-term cognitive (thinking) disorders
  • linked to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and Chronic Neurological Impairment (CNI)


  • On-field and dressing-room assessment (Maddocks, SCAT3, First Responder, King Devick)
  • Comparisons to baseline cognitive tests (Cogstate, IMPACT, ICE, KD etc)
  • No Impact Data available………..until now
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