Concussion awareness is becoming an important aspect of youth and school sports. Massachusetts has enacted laws prohibiting student athletes suspected of having suffered a concussion from returning to competition or practice until medically cleared. School districts and schools must have programs governing the prevention and management of sports-related head injuries. The following information was taken from the CDC's Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports website. Links for additional information can be found at the end of this article including checklists that you can print out and keep on your clipboard as a reference.
If you suspect a player has a concussion remove them from the game or practice, notify the player's parents and recommend they have their player evaluated by a physician. See below for symptoms.
A concussion is a brain injury
As many as 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions occur in the US each year
All concussions are serious - it is not just getting your bell rung!
Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull
Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness
A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems
Recognizing a Concussion
A forceful blow to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head ANDany change in the athlete’s behavior, thinking, or physical functioning
Signs and Symptoms Any of the following systems that you notice or that the player may report indicate a possible concussion! The player does not have to be knocked unconscious.
You may notice the player:
Appears dazed or stunned
Is confused about assignment or position
Is unsure of game, score or opponent
Answers questions slowly
Shows behavior or personality changes
Can’t recall events prior to or after the incident
The player may notice:
Headache or “pressure” in the head
Nausea or vomiting
Balance problems or dizziness
Double or blurry vision
Sensitivity to light or noise
Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
Concentration or memory problems
Does not “feel right”
If you Suspect a Concussion
Remove the athlete from play for the remainder of the game or practice
Notify the parents about a possible concussion
Suggest the parents contact their physician
It’s better to miss one game than the whole season! Playing with a concussion is dangerous.
Urgent Symptoms The following require Immediate Medical Attention