A concussion is type of traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal function of the brain. It occurs when the brain is rocked back and forth or twisted inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. What may appear to be only a mild jolt or blow to the head or body can result in a concussion.
Recognition and Management
Parents and coaches are not expected to be able to “diagnose” a concussion. That is the role of an appropriate health-care professional. However, you must be aware of the signs, symptoms and behaviors of a possible concussion, and if you suspect that an athlete may have a concussion, then he or she must be immediately removed from all physical activity.
SYMPTOMS REPORTED BY ATHLETE
HeadacheNauseaBalance problems or dizzinessDouble or fuzzy visionSensitivity to light or noiseFeeling sluggishFeeling foggy or groggyConcentration or memory problemsConfusion
SIGNS OBSERVED BY PARENTS, FRIENDS, TEACHERS OR COACHES
Appears dazed or stunnedIs confused about what to doForgets playsIs unsure of game, score, or opponentMoves clumsilyAnswers questions slowlyLoses consciousnessShows behavior or personality changesCan’t recall events prior to hitCan’t recall events after hit
When you suspect that a player has a concussion, follow the “Heads Up” 4-step Action Plan.1. Remove the athlete from play.2. Ensure that the athlete is evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional.3. Inform the athlete’s parents or guardians and the League President about the possible concussion and give them information on concussion.4. Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until an appropriate health-care professional says he or she is symptom-free and gives the okay to return to activity.
What to do in an Emergency
Although rare, there are some situations where you will need to call 911 and activate the Emergency Medical System (EMS). The following circumstances are medical emergencies:
1. Any time an athlete has a loss of consciousness of any duration. While loss of consciousness is not required for a concussion to occur, it may indicate more serious brain injury.2. If an athlete exhibits any of the following: decreasing level of consciousness, looks very drowsy or cannot be awakened, if there is difficulty getting his or her attention, irregularity in breathing, severe or worsening headaches, persistent vomiting, or any seizures.
Return to Play
After suffering a concussion, no athlete will return to play or practice on that same day.
Before an athlete can “Return to Participate” he or she must meet the all of the following:No longer exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors of a concussion,Cleared to return to activity by a health-care professional,Obtain clearance from the League President.
All members of this League, board Members, Coaches, Officials and Parents have a shared responsibility to enforce this policy. The outcome of a game has no significance when it comes to the long term health of our young athletes.