Learn nutrition tips for athletes

Our concussion sideline card can help you recognize signs and symptoms of a concussion. It can also be used for on-field cognitive testing. Athletes should not return to play until symptom-free. Any failure on the on-field cognitive testing should be considered abnormal. Athletes should always consult a physician following a suspected concussion.

Sports Concussion Program Sideline Card

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Sports Concussion Program

Signs observed by staff

  • appears to be dazed or stunned
  • is confused about assignment
  • forgets plays
  • is unsure of game,
    score, or opponent
  • moves clumsily
  • answers questions slowly
  • loses consciousness (even temporarily)
  • shows behavior or personality change
  • forgets events prior to hit (retrograde)
  • forgets events after hit (anterograde)

Symptoms reported by athlete

  • headache
  • nausea
  • balance problems or dizziness
  • double or fuzzy vision
  • sensitivity to light or noise
  • feeling sluggish
  • feeling “foggy”
  • change in sleep pattern
  • concentration or memory problems

Symptoms may worsen with exertion. Athlete should not return to play until symptom-free.

On-field Cognitive Testing


Ask the athlete the following questions:

  • What stadium is this?
  • What city is this?
  • Who is the opposing team?
  • What month is it?
  • What day is it?

Anterograde amnesia

Ask the athlete to repeat the following words:
Girl, dog, green

Retrograde amnesia

Ask the athlete the following questions:

  • What happened in the prior quarter/period?
  • What do you remember just prior to the hit?
  • What was the score of the game prior to the hit?
  • Do you remember the hit?


Ask the athlete to do the following:

  • Repeat the days of the week backward (starting with today).
  • Repeat these numbers backward:
    63 (36 is correct)
    419 (914 is correct)

Word list memory

Ask the athlete to repeat the three words from earlier:
Girl, dog, green

Any failure should be considered abnormal. Consult a physician following a suspected concussion.

To schedule an appointment, call 412-432-3681.

About Sports Medicine

Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.