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DC Stoddert Soccer

Concussion Policy

Policy Purpose and Scope 


DC Stoddert Soccer recognizes a concussion is a traumatic brain injury that presents a serious risk to youth athletes. DC Stoddert is committed to safe practices to minimize such risk, and as such, DC Stoddert Soccer has adopted this Sports Concussion Management Policy in accordance with the DC Athletic Concussion Protection Act of 2011. The Act was designed to protect youth athletes who participate in athletic activities from long-term health dangers associated with failure to properly recognize, treat, and recover from a concussion through:

-      training key personnel in concussion recognition and response;

-      removing athletes with suspected concussions from further risk; and

-      allowing athletes who have suspected concussions to return to play only with proper written medical clearance.

This Sports Concussion Management Policy applies to all DC Stoddert Soccer coaches, managers, management, parents/guardians, and athletes. It includes any and all suspected concussions that occur during any activity sanctioned by DC Stoddert Soccer.

Policy Overview


A DC Stoddert Soccer athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion in tryouts, practice, or a game shall be removed from play at that time and may 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.

 

Concussion Recognition and Response (CRR)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a list of common signs and symptoms of concussions on a “pocket card” that is available to assist coaches, managers, parents/guardians, and athletes with identifying suspected concussions.

{DOWNLOAD THE POCKET CARD}

All DC Stoddert Soccer coaches and managers must print a physical copy of this Concussion Management Policy, along with all appendices, to keep nearby for personal reference purposes during tryouts, practices, and games.

In addition to keeping these physical documents nearby, all DC Stoddert Soccer coaches and managers must download the CRR® app prior to the first practice or game.  This app provides a medically sound, interactive checklist to help coaches, managers, parents/guardians, and athletes recognize and assess the likelihood of a concussion. (This app is not to replace a doctor.  The coach must ensure 911 is called in case of an emergency, i.e., loss of consciousness, seizure, or any worsening symptom).

Using the above resources as a guide, if during a DC Stoddert Soccer athletic activity (tryouts, practice, game), a DC Stoddert Soccer athlete exhibits any sign of concussion, reports any symptom of concussion, or is suspected to have sustained a concussion as a result of:

-      a fall, a blow or jolt to the head or body, the shaking or spinning of the head or body, or the acceleration and  
  deceleration  of the head;

-      causing a suspected change in neurological or mental status at the time of injury, as described in the list of              symptoms on the CDC pocket card (such as poor balance, feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused, which may or    may not involve a loss of consciousness, etc…) or as suggested by the CRR app

…the following five action steps must be taken:

-      the coach must remove the athlete from practice or play immediately;

-      the coach or DC Stoddert Soccer management team member must inform the parent/guardian of the injury on the    same day that the injury takes place;

-      the coach must provide written documentation of the injury to DC Stoddert Soccer on the Injury Reporting Form;

-      the athlete may not participate further in the athletic activity until they have been evaluated by a licensed health  care provider trained in evaluation and management of concussion; and

-      the parent/guardian or athlete must provide proper written medical clearance to return to physical sports  participation from that health care provider.

 

DC Stoddert Soccer acknowledges that clearance to return to play is a medical decision. The licensed health care professional who evaluates the youth athlete is the only individual authorized to provide clearance.

Concussion Training and Education


Coaches, parents/guardians, and athletes form a team to work together to recognize and identify possible symptoms related to concussions.  To prepare these responsible persons (coaches, parents/guardians, and athletes) to comply with the recognition and response steps for a suspected concussion, DC Stoddert will implement a Sports Concussion Education and Training Program that provides education and training for coaches, parents/guardians, and athletes about the nature and risks of concussions, and procedures to detect and treat these brain injuries prior to safe return to play. Whether a concussion occurs on or off the field, parents/guardians, athletes, and coaches should work together to identify suspected concussions and ensure a safe return to play.

 

The DC Stoddert Soccer Sports Concussion Education & Training Program shall include the following fundamental components:

-      Training of coaches in CRR (i.e., concussion risks, recognition of signs & symptoms, and response to a suspected
  concussion) at least one time per year.

This training may be accomplished in one of three modalities:

-      through direct education and training in a seminar by a concussion expert;

-      through trained Stoddert “Master Safety Coaches” who are trained to deliver the concussion training; and

-      online education with an approved concussion education program (e.g., CDC Heads Up to Coaches video).


DC Stoddert Soccer will determine the most appropriate modality to maximize effective training.


Education of
parents/guardians and athletes on concussion risks, recognition of signs and symptoms, and post-injury management.

DC Stoddert Soccer will provide parents/guardians and athletes with the DC Stoddert Soccer Parent/Guardian – Athlete Concussion Information Sheet before the first practice of the year.  Parents/guardians and athletes must read and provide written acknowledgement of receipt of this information before the first practice of the year.


Coaches will discuss this Sports Concussion Management Policy with athletes during the first practice of each playing season.


Coaches will discuss this Sports Concussion Management Policy with parents during their first parent meeting of each playing season.

 

Policy Implementation and Compliance

 

The DC Stoddert Soccer Concussion Management Officer (CMO) works in coordination with the Chair of the Risk Management Committee and the DC Stoddert management team to support the successful implementation of this policy.  The CMO is a volunteer person within DC Stoddert Soccer who shall be recommended by Executive Director to the Board of Directors, and approved by the Board on an annual basis. The volunteer assigned to serve as CMO must either be a certified medical professional or have completed at least one hour of concussion care training.


The CMO shall:

-      provide an independent review of Injury Reporting Forms;

-      ensure proper written medical clearance to return to sports documentation has been provided by a licensed health
  provider prior to returning to DC Stoddert Soccer sports participation; and

-      serve as an additional communication point of contact within DC Stoddert Soccer for families of athletes for whom a
  concussion has been suspected.


The Executive Director shall:

-     deliver a compliance report to the Board of the Directors on an annual basis (by no later than December 31st annually) for this Policy.  This compliance report shall cover the implementation status of this Policy, including the status of documentation and education/training requirements outlined in this Policy.

Policy Enforcement

 

Any DC Stoddert coach who does not follow the CRR steps, or does not attend at least one educational seminar per year, as outlined in this policy, will be considered in violation of DC Stoddert Soccer Sideline Ethics and/or subject to disciplinary action by the DC Stoddert Board of Directors.  Any parent/guardian who does not adhere to this policy will be considered in violation of the DC Stoddert Soccer Parent Code of Conduct and/or subject to disciplinary action by the DC Stoddert Board of Directors.

Policy Resources

Additional information on concussions in youth sports can be found at:

-      www.cdc.gov/headsup

-      www.childrensnational.org/score.

-      ACE Post-Concussion Home/School Instructions

-      http://childrensnational.org/~/media/cnhs- site/files/departments/score/instructions_for_families_after_a_concussion.ashx?la=en

-      http://www.biadc.org/

-      http://www.ussoccer.com/about/recognize-to-recover/concussion-guidelines

What is a Concussion?

 

A concussion is a brain injury and all brain injuries are serious. It is 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. Concussion 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 your youth athlete reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms or signs of concussion yourself, as described on the CDC “Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion” pocket card shown below, seek medical attention right away.  

 

Additional Resources for Identifying Concussions/ CRR App


To help you identify concussion signs and symptoms, there are many different types of materials available to you, including CDC handouts (found on the CDC Heads Up website), the CDC Pocket Card (shown above), and CDC online concussion training.

 

There is also a free smartphone app called “Concussion Recognition & Response” (CRR®), developed in part by Children’s National Health System.  This app contains an interactive checklist that can be used during a tryout, practice, or game to help determine if a concussion is suspected.  DC Stoddert Soccer encourages all parents/guardians and athletes to download and use this medically sound concussion app.

Pre-season Concussion Assessment

 

Optimally, a concussion history developed through physical health examinations with a licensed health care professional should be included as part of your athlete’s pre-participation in athletic activities. DC Stoddert Soccer recommends athletes complete a baseline assessment prior to the beginning of the soccer year; however, this baseline testing would be coordinated and take place at the parent/guardian’s or athlete’s own discretion and expense. 

As described by the CDC,

“Baseline testing is a pre-season exam conducted by a trained health care professional. Baseline tests are used to assess an athlete’s balance and brain function (including learning and memory skills, ability to pay attention or concentrate, and how quickly he or she thinks and solve problems), as well as for the presence of any concussion symptoms. Results from baseline tests (or pre-injury tests) can be used and compared to a similar exam conducted by a health care professional during the season if an athlete has a suspected concussion. Baseline tests should only be conducted by a trained health care professional. Only a trained health care professional with experience in concussion management should interpret the results of a baseline exam. When possible, ideally a neuropsychologist should interpret the computerized or paper-pencil neuropsychological test components of a baseline exam.”

What can happen if my child keeps on playing with a concussion or returns to soon?

 

Athletes with the signs and symptoms of concussion should be removed from play immediately. Continuing to play with the signs and symptoms of a concussion leaves the young 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.  An athlete may under-report symptoms of injuries, and concussions are no different. As a result, education of DC Stoddert administrators, coaches, parents/guardians, and athletes about concussion risks is very important for your youth athlete’s safety.

 

If you think your child has suffered a concussion

 

You should inform your child’s coach if you suspect that your child may have symptoms of and/or possibly suffered a concussion. By DC law, any athlete suspected of suffering a concussion must be removed from the game or practice immediately. No athlete may return to activity after a suspected concussion, regardless of how “mild” it may seem or how quickly the symptoms appear to clear, without medical evaluation and clearance. In accordance with DC law, the DC Stoddert Sports Concussion Management Policy states that a DC Stoddert Soccer athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion in tryouts, practice or a game:

  • shall be removed from play at that time, and
  • may 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.

 

Following a suspected concussion, you should seek immediate medical attention for your child, and following a suspected or confirmed concussion your child should be closely monitored for the first 24 hours.  You should also review the ACE Post-Concussion Home/School Instructions available on the Children’s National Health System website.

 

Remember it is better to miss one game than miss the whole season. And when in doubt, the athlete sits out.



 

 

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