UAS Concussion Policy
Although we are specifically addressing this issue to our players under the age of 18, this policy applies to all players. A concussion is a brain injury and all brain injuries are serious. They are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or by a blow to another part of the body with the force transmitted to the head. They can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. Even though most concussions are mild, all concussions are potentially serious and may result in complications including prolonged brain damage and death if not recognized and managed properly. In other words, even a "ding" or a bump on the head can be serious. You can't see a concussion, and most sports concussions occur without loss of consciousness. Signs and symptoms of concussion may show up right after the injury or can take hours or days to fully appear. If a player reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms or signs of concussion yourself, seek medical attention right away.
Symptoms may include one or more of the following:
- "Pressure in head"
- Nausea or vomiting
- Neck pain
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Blurred, double, or fuzzy vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish or slowed down
- Feeling foggy or groggy
- Change in sleep patterns
- "Don't feel right"
- Fatigue or low energy
- Nervousness or anxiety
- More emotional
- Concentration or memory problems (forgetting game plays)
- Repeating the same question/comment
Signs observed by referees, teammates, parents and coaches include:
- Appears dazed
- Vacant facial expression
- Confused about assignment
- Forgets plays
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily or displays lack of coordination
- Answers questions slowly
- Slurred speech
- Shows behavioral or personality changes
- Can't recall events prior to hit
- Can't recall events after hit
- Seizures or convulsions
- Any change in typical behavior or personality
- Loses consciousness
What can happen if the player keeps on playing with a concussion or returns too soon?
Athletes with signs and symptoms of concussion should be removed from play immediately. Continuing to play with signs and symptoms of a concussion leaves the athlete especially vulnerable to greater injury. There is an increased risk of significant damage from a concussion for a period of time after that concussion occurs, particularly if the athlete suffers another concussion before completely recovering from the first one. This can lead to prolonged recovery, or even to severe brain swelling (second impact syndrome) with devastating and even fatal consequences. It is well known that adolescent or teenage athletes will often under-report symptoms of injuries and concussions are no different. As a result, education of administrators, coaches, referees, parents and the players themselves is the key for players' safety.
If you think a player may have suffered a concussion, it is imperative that action is taken.
Any athlete even suspected of suffering a concussion should be removed from the game or practice immediately. No athlete may return to activity after an apparent head injury or concussion, regardless of how mild it seems or how quickly symptoms clear, without medical clearance. Close observation of the athlete should continue for several hours. The new H.B. 204 in Utah now requires the consistent and uniform implementation of long and well-established return-to-play concussion guidelines that have been recommended for several years:
In reference to our player who are under-18, "a youth athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game shall be removed from competition at that time"
and "ůmay not return to play until the athlete is evaluated by a licensed heath care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion and has received written clearance to return to play from that health care provider".
You should also inform your manager/coach if you think that a player may have a concussion. Remember, it's better to miss one game than to miss the whole season. When in doubt, the player sits out.
For current and up-to-date information on concussions you can go to: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/youth.html