On July 1, 2011, the state of Virginia brought into law the Student Athlete Protection Act, an awareness act providing guidelines and procedures regarding identification and handling of suspect concussions. Though this law is directed to middle and high schools, the Gainesville-Haymarket Youth Football League is committed to the safety of our football players and cheerleaders, and we are posting this information to educate athletes, parents, and coaches.
GUIDE FOR ATHLETES
WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?
A concussion is a brain injury that:
- Is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body.
- Can change the way your brain normally works.
- Can occur during practices or games in any sport or recreational activity.
- Can happen even if you have not had a loss of consciousness.
- Can be serious even if you have just been "dinged" or "had your bell rung."
ALL CONCUSSION ARE SERIOUS.
- A concussion can affect your ability to do schoolwork and other activities.
- Most people with a concussion get better but it is important to give your brain time to heal.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A CONCUSSION?
- A headache "pressure" in head.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Balance problems or dizziness.
- Double or blurry vision.
- Bothered by light or noise.
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy.
- Difficulty paying attention.
- Memory problems.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE A CONCUSSION?
- Tell your coach and your parents.
- Have a health care professional evaluate your symptoms.
- Give yourself time to get better. Repeat concussions can increase the time it takes for you to recover and may cuase more damage to your brain.
HOW CAN I PREVENT A CONCUSSION?
Every sport is different but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Use proper sports equipment, including personal protective equipment. In order for your equipment to protect you, it must be:
- The right equipment for the game, position or activity.
- Worn correctly and the correct size.
- Used every time you play or practice.
- Even with properly fitted equipment, concussions can still occur.â€‹
Follow your coach's rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
Practice good sportsmanship at all times.
IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE A CONCUSSION:
DON'T HIDE IT ~ REPORT IT ~ TAKE TIME TO RECOVER!
IT'S BETTER TO MISS ONE GAME THAN THE WHOLE SEASON
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK A FRIEND/TEAMMATE HAS A CONCUSSION?
- Tell your coach and/or your parents.
- Stepping up for your friend could save their life.
GUIDE FOR PARENTS
WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?
- A concussion is a brain injury which results in a temporary disruption of normal brain function. A concussion occurs when the brain is violently rocked back and forth or twisted inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. An athlete does not have to lose consciousness to suffer a concussion.
- Concussions occur most frequently in football, but girl's lacrosse, girl's soccer, boy's lacrosse, wrestling and girl's basketball follow closely behind.
- Concussion symptoms may last from a few days to several months.
- An athlete should not return to sports while still having symptoms from a concussion as they are at risk for prolonged symptoms and further injury.
- A concussion may cause multiple symptoms. Many symptoms appear immediately after the injury while others may develop over the next several days or weeks.
SIGNS OBSERVED BY PARENTS AND COACHES.
- Appears dazed or stunned.
- Is confused about what to do.
- Forgets plays.
- Is unsure of game, score or opponent.
- Moves clumsily.
- Loses consciousness.
- Shows behavior or personality changes.
- Cannot recall events prior to the hit.
- Cannot recall events after hit.
SYMPTOMS REPORTED BY ATHLETE.
- Balance problems or dizziness.
- Double or fuzzy vision.
- Feeling sluggish, foggy or groggy.
- Concentration or memory problems.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHILD HAS SUFFERED A CONCUSSION?
- Remove them from further play, a game or practice in or out of school.
- Contact their coach and teacher.
- Continuing to participate in physical activity after a concussion can lead to worsening concussion symptoms, increase risk the or further injury and even death.
- Have a medical professional diagnose your child.
- WHEN IN DOUBT, SIT THEM OUT!
WHEN CAN AN ATHLETE RETURN TO PLAY?
- No athlete should return to play or practice on the same day after suffering a concussion.
- The athlete must be evaluated by a health care professional and be cleared before returning.
- Once cleared, he/she should proceed with activity in a step-wise fashion to allow the brain to re-adjust to exertion.
STEPS TO FOLLOW AFTER CLEARED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
- Step 1 ~ Light exercise, including walking or riding an exercise bike. No weight lifting.
- Step 2 ~ Running in the gym or on the field. No helmet or other equipment.
- Step 3 ~ Non-contact training drills in full equipment. Weight training can begin.
- Step 4 ~ Full contact practice or training.
- Step 5 ~ Gamesplay.
Symptoms occur at any step, the athlete should cease activity and be re-evaluated by their health care professional.
WHAT CAN I DO AS A PARENT?
- Both you and your child should learn to recognize the "Signs and Symptoms" of concussions as stated above.
- Teach your child to tell their coach and you if they experience such symptoms.
- Teach your child to tell their coach and you if they suspect a friend or teammate has a concussion.
- Ask teachers to monitor any decrease in grades or changes in behavior that could indicate a concussion.
- Report concussions to coaches and teachers to help in monitoring injured athletes.
THE BEST TREATMENT FOR A CONCUSSION IS REST!