by Mark Powell MS ATC
Concussions are a fact of life in high school sports and will most likely not go away while high-risk contact sports remain as they are today. But as medical professionals learn more about the symptoms and effects of concussions, it is becoming clearer to coaches, trainers, and officials what to look for in a player to determine if they have sustained a concussion.
In an article titled, “Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussion in Sports,” the National Federation of State High School Associations lays out clearly, signs and symptoms to look out for and how to manage the situation.
Here are some of the key points covered by the NFHS.
Recognition and management are paramount. Always remove a player from any further physical activity whenever they show any signs, symptoms or behaviors of a concussion. By continuing to play, those symptoms could worsen and put them at added risk of permanent brain damage or worse.
If you suspect a player has a concussion, follow the “Heads-Up” 4-step action plan.
- Remove the athlete from play.
- Ensure that the athlete is evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional.
- Inform the athlete’s parents or guardians about the possible concussion and give them information on concussions.
- 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.
They recommend cognitive rest after a concussion. Many athletes will struggle with short and long term memory, concentration and organization for up to several weeks after a concussion. They will need rest to give their brain a chance to heal. Rest includes a break from physical and mental activities that require concentration and attention.
Monitor return-to-play closely and never allow an athlete to return the same day as the injury. In fact, it should not be allowed until the athlete has no symptoms and has been cleared by an appropriate health-care professional. The article suggests a 5-step approach to returning the player to full action.
If symptoms of a concussion reoccur at any time during the return-to-activity program, the athlete must discontinue all activity and be reevaluated by the health-care provider.
Read the full article at the following link.