CDC HEADS UP Campaign
HEADS UP to 20 YEARS of
In 2003, CDC launched a small set of educational materials to help healthcare providers diagnose and manage concussions. That initiative has grown over 20 years.
Now, CDC Heads Up works across disciplines and interest areas to protect kids and teens. We raise awareness and inform action to improve prevention, recognition, and response to concussion and other serious brain injuries. CDC HEADS UP offers materials for healthcare providers, coaches, parents, school professionals, sports officials, and kids and teens.
CDC HEADS UP has grown into the go-to resource for concussion prevention and education.
Reached more than 200 million people through ad campaigns, PSAs, and more
Partnered with more than 85 organizations across the fields of athletics, healthcare, public health, education, and scientific research
Educated over 10 million participants across six online training courses designed for coaches, healthcare providers, school professionals, athletic trainers, and sports officials
Created over 100 communication products to promote concussion prevention and care
CDC HEADS UP developed online trainings in collaboration with experts and partner organizations. Millions of people use the trainings and seek to raise awareness about concussion in every community.
CDC HEADS UP Online Training Courses
Partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations
More than 100 materials have been developed for the CDC HEADS UP initiative including:
CDC HEADS UP educational initiatives and materials align with the best scientific evidence available on concussion prevention and management. Studies show that CDC HEADS UP materials:
Increase communication about concussion between athletes and their parents.1
Reach a large number of coaches and parents and improve their knowledge about concussions.2-4
Lead coaches and others to view concussion more seriously.3,5,6
Increase the capacity of youth sports coaches to appropriately prevent, recognize, and respond to sports-related concussions.6
Improve knowledge about symptom resolution and return-to-play recommendations.3,6
Improve awareness of under-reporting of concussions among athletes.3
CDC developed the HEADS UP initiative in response to the Children’s Health Act of 2000 and aimed to improve awareness of mild traumatic brain injury—an under-diagnosed and under-identified injury. We have made great strides in building, improving, and supporting concussion safety around the country. We plan to do much more. Exciting upcoming CDC HEADS UP initiatives include:
An updated and expanded training for youth sports coaches—the most popular CDC HEADS UP product.
Resources to help parents of toddlers and young children learn about concussion safety, prevention, and care.
Enhanced efforts to reduce disparities through concussion education tailored for American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic parents and youth.
CDC works to get HEADS UP concussion materials into the hands of many people, such as parents, healthcare and school professionals, coaches, and athletes. But we can only do that with your help! You can help others get up to speed on concussion safety by:
Posting links to CDC HEADS UP materials, trainings, and other free resources on your organization’s website and social media accounts.
Including concussion education messages and links to materials in blogs, newsletters, and other publications.
- Zhou, H., Ledsky, R., Sarmiento, K., DePadilla, L., Kresnow, M.J., Kroshus, E. (2022). Parent–Child communication about concussion: What role can the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HEADS UP concussion in youth sports handouts play? Brain Injury, 36:9, 1133-1139, https://doi.org/10.1080/02699052.2022.2109740.
- Parker, E. M., Gilchrist, J., Schuster, D., Lee, R., & Sarmiento, K. (2015). Reach and Knowledge Change Among Coaches and Other Participants of the Online Course: “Concussion in Sports: What You Need To Know”. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 30(3), 198–206. https://doi.org/10.1097/HTR.0000000000000097.
- Daugherty, J., DePadilla, L., & Sarmiento, K. (2019). Effectiveness of the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention Heads Up Coaches’ Online Training as an Educational Intervention. Health Education Journal, 78(7), 784–797. https://doi.org/10.1177/0017896919846185.
- Rice, T., & Curtis, R. (2019). Parental Knowledge of Concussion: Evaluation of the CDC’s “HEADS UP to Parents” Educational Initiative. Journal of Safety Research, 69, 85–93. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2019.02.007.
- Daugherty, J., DePadilla, L., Sarmiento, K. (2020). Assessment of HEADS UP online training as an educational intervention for sports officials/athletic trainers. Journal of Safety Research, 74:133-141. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2020.04.015.
- Covassin, T., Elbin, R. J., & Sarmiento, K. (2012). Educating Coaches About Concussion in Sports: Evaluation of the CDC’s “HEADS UP: Concussion In Youth Sports” Initiative. The Journal of School Health, 82(5), 233–238. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2012.00692.x.