Concussions and the risk of experiencing a concussion continue to receive scrutiny at both the professional and amateur levels of sports participation. Numerous stories of untimely and completely preventable deaths resulting from multiple traumatic brain injuries have been broadcast around the world. It is now widely accepted that repeated concussive and sub-concussive impacts can result in permanent brain damage and a myriad of other health problems including seizures, cognitive impairment, and emotional disturbance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The issue of concussions during collegiate recreational activities has the potential to affect the delivery of certain programs and services to students and is very likely to increase liability risk for recreational departments across the entire profession. NIRSA has recognized the need for the profession to identify best practices that mitigate these risks and enhance the safety of student participation.

To this end, the Concussion Advisory Council has recently delivered a survey on current practices in concussion assessment, awareness, and return-to-play policies to every U.S. recreation department director in the Association.

The survey will help NIRSA elucidate these practices and identify those areas in which immediate redress may be warranted. Please check with the Director for your department to ensure that your campus has participated in this important survey. Copies of the survey will also be made available to interested NIRSA members upon request. Please email for a copy of the concussion survey. But act soon—the survey is set to close on October 27.

Your department’s participation in this survey will help protect students and support the profession through the development and identification of best practices for concussion policies, awareness, and training.

  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Research Coordinator Ruben Guzman.

Lexi Chaput currently is Senior Assistant Director of Sport Programs and Development at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; she serves as a member of the NIRSA Foundation Board of Directors and is the Chair of NIRSA's Concussion Advisory Council. She can be reached at