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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

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Universities present lifestyle challenges due to distance from families and familiar medical care (even if only a few miles), changes in physical activity level, changes in competitive level of team and intramural sports, dining in a cafeteria, exposure to alcohol, and changes in friends and relationships. You may have considered many of these factors already, but if you have not you may begin to think about how these will affect your post-concussion condition.  There may be additional challenges with managing your busy schedule.

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There are resources at Stanford available to assist you along this transition.  Vaden Health Center is available to provide Primary Care Services.  In addition, Vaden offers general nutrition and wellness counseling as well as Counseling and Psychologic Services (CAPS). The Continuity of Care Nurse at Vaden is available to assist you with managing your medical needs. You may contact her at 650.725.0984 for help obtaining the care you need while on campus.

A concussion (also known as traumatic brain injury) is an injury to the brain that is caused by a blow to the head.  After a concussion, the brain doesn't function correctly for a while.  A concussion can cause a person to be "knocked out" (unconscious) or to have memory loss (amnesia).  Concussions are usually not serious, but they may cause ongoing symptoms.  Some people will have headache, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, and impaired memory and concentration for up to 6 months after a concussion. Symptoms may also be subtle. Recovery may occur within 1-2 weeks, with most people recovered fully within 1-3 months. Repeated concussions have been found to have an additive effect, resulting in a longer recovery period for the brain.

You may have completely recovered from your concussion by the time you arrive at Stanford University; however, if you have already had a concussion you may be at risk for a repeat concussion.

Some things to consider as you prepare for Stanford

Topic Recommendations

Medication and supplies

  • If you have medication prescriptions, make sure you bring an adequate supply to campus.
  • A Walgreens Pharmacy is located at Vaden Health Center.  You may use this pharmacy for your medications.  In addition, there are other pharmacies located within 1 mile of campus.
  • Never take anyone else’s medication.


  • Alcohol use has a negative impact on the brain as it acts to slow down or depress brain activity. Higher blood alcohol levels depress brain activity further to a point where memory as well as muscular coordination and balance are temporarily impaired. Still greater alcohol intake within a relatively short period of time acts to depress deeper parts of the brain producing a state of loss of control in which judgment is severely affected and sensory perceptions are dulled. With a history of concussion, you are susceptible to brain impairment.  In addition, intoxication may lead to a fall and repeated concussion.

Medical appointments

  • If you need a referral to a neurologist while you are on campus, you will have access to Stanford Medical Center and Menlo Medical Clinic. These specialists are covered in Cardinal Care Insurance.  A co-payment will be required. If you do not have Cardinal Care, you will have to check your insurance for covered providers.

High risk sports

  • High-risk sports for repeated head injury are rugby, football, boxing, soccer, and riding a bicycling without a helmet. We recommend that you always were a helmet when bicycling. If you are participating in one of these sports, you should let your coach/athletic advisor know about your history.

Re-occurrence of concussion while at Stanford

  • A repeat concussion that occurs while your brain is still healing may cause long-term problems and ongoing symptoms.
  • Seek medical advice immediately if you have a head injury.  You may schedule an appointment for the same day at Vaden Health Center, or you may visit the Emergency Department at Stanford Hospital. When Vaden is closed and you do not think a visit to the Emergency Department is needed, you may use Stanford Express Care or Palo Alto Medical Foundation Urgent Care, depending on your insurance coverage.
  •  Tell your coach/athletic trainer if you think you or one of your teammates may have a concussion. Don’t let anyone pressure you into continuing to practice or play with a concussion.
  • Tell your resident advisor if you suspect you have a concussion, or if a concussion has been confirmed by a medical clinician.
  •  Discuss recommendations/plans with your clinician about
    • returning to daily activities
    • returning to school
    • returning to physical activities/sports
  • Use of computers, television, and other electronic screens may need to be limited during recovery. Check with your clinician.
  • You may need accommodations for classroom work and tests.  You may contact the Office of Accessible Education.


  • If you are not planning to sign up for Cardinal Care Insurance, you should check to make sure your current insurance covers care at Stanford Health Care and Stanford Specialty Clinics.  If it does not, we strongly encourage you to enroll in Cardinal Care. This is especially important for students with pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Undergraduate students on full financial aid should check with the Financial Aid Office at 888.326.3773 regarding coverage of the cost of Cardinal Care prior to making a decision to waive coverage.
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Medical Condition Note

If your medical condition has specific treatment recommendations from your current provider, we recommend that you request a Transition of Care Summary from your current clinician.  This document should include:

• Your diagnosis with ICD-10 code
• Your current status
• A brief history of treatments including those which failed
• Recommendations for care while at Stanford (including medical management and diagnostic tests)