Occupational Therapist Kathy Wong, who works at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre but also has two kids playing soccer, passed on this great information that’s been put together to help coaches recognize and deal with concussion symptoms. I’ll cut and paste it here verbatim…
The concussion rate among youth soccer players is similar for both elite and recreational athletes to that of American football and ice hockey players (‘Injuries in Youth Soccer’, Journal of Pediatrics, Jan. 2010). In girls’ sports, the rate of concussion is highest in girls’ soccer and basketball (‘Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents, Journal of Pediatrics, August, 2010). There is less data for the grade school athlete.
All coaches should carry a Concussion Management card that lists some of the signs and symptoms of concussion (eg. dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, confusion, disorientation etc.) as well as the return-to-play protocol. Each equipment bag has been given a card.
Concussion information for coaches, parents and athletes and return to play guidelines can be found on the ThinkFirst website (www.thinkfirst.ca) – these guidelines are supported by Soccer Canada.
•”When in doubt, sit them out”
If it is suspected that a player has sustained a concussion, he/she should stop playing soccer immediately.
•He/she should not be left alone and should be seen by a physician as soon as possible on that same day.
•If a player loses consciousness; call 9-1-1 for an ambulance to take him/her to the hospital.
•Important note: You do not need to lose consciousness to sustain a concussion.
•Adolescent athletes often do not report that they have a concussion and will continue to play in the game.
•Symptoms of a concussion may not develop immediately after injury. They may appear hours or even days later (e.g. when the athlete returns to school on Monday after receiving the injury on Saturday. As the “thinking demands” of schoolwork increase, the student could begin to experience symptoms).
•The focus is to reduce the potential of further injury or stress to the brain.
•Since the brain is responsible for all moving (physical) and thinking (cognitive) functions of the body, athletes with concussion need to rest physically and cognitively (this may mean no computer games, texting, TV, reading) until the symptoms have resolved at rest and with exertion.
•Reducing just the physical demands (and not the cognitive demands) may delay or hamper recovery.
•During the recovery period, contact sports and any other activity where there’s a risk for another concussion (eg. cycling, basketball, skiing etc.) should be avoided. After one concussion, the athlete is 3 times at risk for another concussion.
• The majority of athletes recover (become asymptomatic) after a week, although studies indicate that pediatric and adolescent athletes take longer for a full cognitive recovery.
RETURN TO PLAY
•After a concussion, it is recommended that the athlete follow a graded return to play protocol outlined by the 2008 Zurich Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport. If symptoms return, the athlete should always return to the previous step. Each step has a minimum of 1 day.
|Step 1||No activity, complete physical rest, quiet time with maximum rest. Go to step 2 when 100% symptom free for 24 hrs.|
|Step 2||Light aerobic activity such as walking or stationary cycling 10 – 15 mins|
|Step 3||Sport-specific training (eg. skating in hockey, running in soccer) 20 – 30 mins. Low risk activities|
|Step 4||Non-contact training drills|
|Step 5||Full-contact training after clearance by a physician|
|Step 6||Return to game play. If symptoms return, athlete should return to previous step.|
•Medical clearance by a physician is always advised before any return to play.
Training Module for coaches:
www.thinkfirst.ca – this is an excellent website devoted to brain and spinal cord injury prevention in children and youth
The above information was taken from the Early Response Concussion Service for Adolescents pilot project, Adolescent/Young Adult Services, GF Strong Rehab Centre (August 2011).
By request, you can download a PDF here: