We at Loudoun Soccer take Concussions very seriously. In a better effort to keep parents, coaches, and staff informed, the following information has been provided from StoneSpring Medical, and additional information can be found HERE
Concussion is a serious health issue for all athletes, regardless of age, gender, and type or level of sport played. Injured athletes need clinical evaluation to make sure that they are not at risk for health problems.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of brain injury. It can happen when the head hits an object or a moving object strikes the head. It also can happen when the head experiences a sudden force without being hit directly. Each year, 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions result from sports injuries in the United States. Almost nine percent of all US high school sports injuries involve concussions. Most concussions result in full recovery. However, some can lead to more severe injuries.
Signs and Symptoms of Concussion
Concussion signs are things you can observe about the athlete. These include:
- Behavior or personality changes
- Blank stare, dazed look
- Changes to balance, coordination, reaction time
- Delayed or slowed spoken or physical responses
- Disorientation (confused about time, date, location, game)
- Loss of consciousness/blackout
(occurs in less than 10 percent of cases)
- Memory loss of event before, during, or after injury occured
- Slurred/unclear speech
- Trouble controlling emotions
Concussion symptoms are things the athlete tells you are happening. These include:
- Blurry vision/double vision
- Feeling hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Feeling very drowsy, having sleep problems
- Inability to focus, concentrate
- Nausea (stomach upset)
- Not feeling right
- Sensitivity to light or sound
Who is at Risk For a Concussion?
Concussions can occur in many sports. Concussions are common in high-speed contact sports. Strong evidence shows:
- Football, rugby, hockey, and soccer pose the greatest risk
- Baseball, softball, volleyball, and gymnastics involve the lowest risk
What To Do When a Head Injury Occurs During a Game?
If you suspect an athlete may have a concussion, remove the athlete from play immediately! This will reduce risk of further injury. Moderate evidence shows that checklists and screening tests can help with diagnosing concussions. Where available, athletic trainers working with athletes should become familiar with such tests. These include:
- Balance assessment tests
- Brief mental status exams
- Symptom checklists
- The Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC)
When Can an Athlete Who Has Been Diagnosed With A Concussion Return to Play/Practice?
If an athlete is diagnosed with a concussion, two things are required before he or she returns to play:
1. All symptoms should have cleared up. In addition, the athlete should not rely on medication to treat lingering symptoms. These include symptoms such as headache which might be masked by medication. The athlete should be free of symptoms even after stopping medication.
2. The athlete should be approved for play by a licensed healthcare professional training in diagnosing and managing concussion.
The athlete should be returned to play slowly. There is no set timeline for recovery or return to play. There is also no evidence for absolute rest after a concussion. However, high school athletes or younger should be managed more conservatively than older athletes. Moderate evidence shows that these athletes have symptoms and thinking problems that last longer than in older athletes. For injured athletes with continued symptoms, moderate to strong evidence shows ongoing thinking problems and slowed reaction times can persist. Weak evidence shows that athletes with ongoing symptoms may be risking further injury and longer recovery time if they try to participate in sports before symptoms have completely cleared.