If a player takes a blow to the head, he/she will need to be observed by a trainer. It doesn't matter if the player says that “he/she is okay.” Trainers will need to run an observation on the player. First, the trainer should check to see if the player is dazed or confused (a huge symptom for concussions). Next, the player will be asked a few basic questions (ex. score of the game). If the player is slow to answer or is unsure, you will definitely need to proceed to the next step in the testing process. At the beginning of the season, athletes are required to take an impact test (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). The test is usually online and athletes are asked to answer a number of different types of questions. If you suffer a blow to the head and have concussion-like symptoms, you will need to take the test again. If your score is significantly lower than the previous test, you will be diagnosed with a concussion. From there, the athlete will need to rest and go through the Return-to-Play protocol, which is outlined below.
Common Concussion Symptoms
Physical- Headache, fuzzy and blurry vision, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to noise or light, balance problems, & tired/no energy
Emotional/Mood- Sadness, emotional, nervous
Sleep- trouble falling asleep, sleeping more/less than usual
*from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Return to Play Protocol
According to http://www.cdc.gov/concussion, “the law requires that students who sustain, or are suspected to have sustained a concussion during athletic activities be immediately removed from such activities. Student may NOT return to athletic activities until they have been symptom-free for a minimum of 24 hours and have been evaluated by, and receive written and signed authorization to return to activities from a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.”
It's very important to rest and not rush back into physical activity. If anything, rest is the most important part of a full recovery. The athlete will need to avoid looking at screens (ex. phones, computers, or televisions) for a few days. It's best if he/she rests in bed without any electronics or activities. If after a few days the symptoms are gone, the player can move to Step 1 of the Return to Play Protocol.
Step 1- Light Aerobic Exercise
Examples: stretching, walking
-Player will need to ease into the activity and go slowly. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she may move to Step 2.
Step 2- Medium Aerobic Exercise
Examples: running, jump roping
-The exercise will need to be very light and easy. Athlete will need to not overexert themselves. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she may move to Step 3.
Step 3- Non-Contact Activity
Example: Weight training
-If the player participates in weight training, a spotter is required. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she may move to Step 4.
Step 4- Sport Drills
Example: non-contact sports drills
-The player can participate in non-contact drills and practice. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she move to Step 5.
Step 5- Full Contact
-The player can participate in full-contact drills and play. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she can return to regular practice.
Schooling with a Concussion
Coach Name: _________________________________________ Date:____________________