Sideline assessment

All players exhibiting signs or complaining of symptoms suggestive of concussion should be immediately removed from the field of play and be medically assessed. 

The SCAT6© provides the following flow chart to aid decision making when assessing an athlete suspected of having sustained a concussion prior to proceeding to the cognitive assessment and completed in the field of play.

Box 1: Red Flags

  • Neck pain or tenderness
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Double vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weakness or tingling/burning in more than 1 arm or in the legs
  • Deteriorating conscious state
  • Vomiting
  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Increasingly restless, agitated or combative
  • GCS <15
  • Visible deformity of the skull

Step 1: Observable signs

  • Lying motionless on playing surface
  • Falling unprotected to the surface
  • Balance/gait difficulties, motor incoordination, ataxia: stumbling, slow/laboured movements
  • Disorientation or confusion, staring or limited responsiveness, or an inability to respond appropriately to questions
  • Blank or vacant look
  • Facial injury after head trauma
  • Impact seizure
  • High Risk mechanism of injury