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Impact of Concussions - FOR COACHES
Download the "Concussion Awareness Management Chart" to know specifics about concussions:
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As a coach, you may wonder why your player got injured and may be asking “What exactly is a concussion?”

A concussion is a brain injury. A concussion occurs when a person experiences a significant hit to the head, face, jaw or body causing the brain to shift and impact the inside of the skull forcing a temporary loss of normal brain functioning. It may also result from a whiplash effect to the head and neck in a front-to-back or side-to-side motion. Imagine not wearing your seatbelt and being suddenly thrown against the inside of your vehicle and getting injured; the brain slamming into the skull gets an injury during a concussion.

Common Symptoms and Signs
A concussion may involve loss of consciousness. However, a concussion most often occurs without a loss of consciousness. Symptoms and signs may have a delayed onset (may be worse later that day or even the next morning), so players should continue to be observed even after the initial symptoms and signs have returned to normal.

Symptoms

Signs

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling dazed
  • Seeing stars
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Ringing in ears
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Confusion, disorientation
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Slow or slurred speech
  • Poor concentration
  • Delayed responses to questions
  • Vacant stare
  • Decreased playing ability
  • Unusual emotions, personality change, and inappropriate behaviour

 



Caution: A physician MUST see all players who experience a concussion as soon as possible. Coaches, trainers, players and parents should not attempt to treat a concussion without a physician’s involvement. DO NOT administer medication as this can worsen the condition!

PHASE ONE: Initial Response

Concussion with loss of consciousness:
  • Initiate Emergency Action Plan and Call an Ambulance.
  • Assume possible neck injury. Do NOT move the player!
  • Check the ABC’s: Always assess Airway, Breathing and Circulation
Concussion without the loss of consciousness:
  • Remove the player from the current game or practice.
  • Do not leave the player alone; monitor signs and symptoms (follow checklist procedures)
  • Do not administer medication
  • Inform coaching staff, parent/guardian about the injury
  • A medical doctor with experience in evaluating for concussion must evaluate the player as soon as possible.
A concussed player must not return to play in that game or practice! Allow the athlete to return to play only with written permission from a health care professional with experience in evaluating for concussion (oddly, not all doctors know what to look for when dealing with a concussed player).

PHASE TWO: The Return to Play Process
As a coach, it is vital to understand the health and well being of the player is primary. Achieving this goal comes from a specially designed return-to-play process ensuring the brain has had the proper opportunity to heal itself. The return-to-play process is gradual and begins after a doctor has given the player written clearance to return to activity. If any symptoms/signs return during this process, the player must be re-evaluated by a physician. Absolutely NO return to play if any symptoms or signs persist. Remember, symptoms may return later that day or the next, not necessarily when exercising!

If symptoms recur, return to Step 1 after re-evaluation and written clearance from a physician.

Step 1: Complete rest---no activity. Unfortunately, this also includes NO video games as this has a detrimental impact on the brain forcing it to process visual and auditory stimuli.  Proceed to step 2 only when symptoms are gone.

Step 2: Light aerobic exercise, such as walking or stationary cycling. Monitor for symptoms and signs. NO resistance training or weight lifting!

Step 3: Increased intensity exercise such as sprints or plyometrics.

Step 4: Non-contact drills.

The time needed to progress from non-contact to contact will vary with the severity of the concussion and the player. The player must remain symptom free to proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Begin contact drills and team scrimmage, progressing to full contact.

Step 6: Game play.

Never return to play if symptoms persist!

As a coach, here are a few injury prevention tips you can do to help your player:

Players

Coach / Trainer / Staff

  • Make sure the helmet fits properly and the strap is fastened
  • Get a properly fitted mouth guard
  • Respect other players
  • Avoid deliberate blows to the head, face, or neck areas.
  • Never lead with the head! NO SPEARING!
  • Inform and educate players about the risks of concussion
  • Recognize the symptoms and signs of concussion.
  • Ensure all players learn proper techniques for tackling & blocking.
  • Learn to size and adjust helmets correctly! Helmets MUST fit properly!


Because of the potential serious nature of head injuries, ANY violation of these rules WILL result in league discipline.

Listen to a sports industry legend offer his comments on concussions in sports. While many people will recognize Bob McKenzie from the world of hockey, his comments as a parent about the subject of concussions affect players in all contact sports.   Click to watch the video

Properly Fitting a Riddell Helmet
(Disclaimer: It is the responsibility of coaches, players, trainers, and parents to ensure helmets are properly fitted and worn to minimize player injury. Information contained in these external websites are the responsibility of their creators, and RMF will not be held liable for any information contained within these links.)

The information provided at these websites is for your benefit to ensure your child’s helmet properly fits! Do NOT attempt to disassemble, modify, or repair helmets – report any damage to the Coach and/or RMF Equipment personnel. Be sure to let the Coach make the necessary adjustments to your player’s helmet as improper adjustments can damage the helmet and put the player at risk!!  The video below demonstrates proper fitting of a helmet.   Click to watch the video

Revised May, 2010
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:52
 


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