All Somerset West coaches are now required to complete a concussion awareness course annually. Coaches/Assistants will not be rostered/placed on a team until they fulfill this requirement. The reason is simple: recognizing the signs of concussion and knowing how to respond are essential to providing a safe playing environment for our players.
Fortunately, the process is pretty painless. Just follow the steps listed below to complete the NFHS Concussion in Sports course.
- Access the NFHS Concussion in Sports course.
- Login (register first if needed), then purchase and complete the course (cost is $0).
- Attach a copy of your completion certificate to an email and send to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you have done something that will make the world of youth sports a safer place. Well done, Coach.
Note: Coaches can meet this requirement by providing evidence of successful completion of a concussion awareness course in the past year. This may include the NFHS course, the CDC Heads Up course, or a similar course. Just email a .pdf of your certificate of completion as outlined in Step 3 above. Certificates for NFHS courses can be retrieved by logging on, choosing “my homepage/courses” then “my completed courses”.
Managing concussions: RECOGNIZE, REMOVE, REFER
Effective concussion management is a three step process:
RECOGNIZE. Recognition of the signs and symptoms of concussion is the first step in appropriate management. Every coach and team manager should have with them at practices and games a copy of the Concussion Checklist Quick Reference, or a simlar list of signs and symptoms of concussion. Coaches should watch for SIGNS that a player may have sustained a concussion, and should be aware of SYMPTOMS that may be reported by the athlete.
REMOVE. Any player showing signs or reporting symptoms of a concussion must immediately be removed from activity, and may not return to play until subsequent steps in the protocol are completed (in no case may a player return to play prior to the day following the suspected concussion).
REFER. If a player suffers a suspected concussion at a game or practice, the coach or other team official should immediately:
- Complete page one of the Sideline Concussion Documentation
- Notify a parent or guardian of the injury.
- Give both pages of the concussion documentation form to the parent or guardian along with the Concussion Care Instructions.
- Inform the parent or guardian that the player cannot return to practice or games until a health care professional has released the player for participation.
- Notify via email the SWSC Vice-President (email@example.com) of the suspected concussion incident.
You will receive copies of these forms in your coach packets as well as a handout to be provided to all parents.
Returning to Play After a Concussion
When a player has been removed from practice or a game because of a suspected concussion, a coach is not permitted to allow the player to return to participation until these conditions are met:
- One day has passed
- The coach has received a medical release form signed by a medical professional. Both the Sideline Concussion Documentation and the Graded Return to Participation Documentation have a form of medical release on page two.
- The player no longer exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion.
Coaches should keep a copy of the release, and provide a copy to the club vice-president (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the club’s records.
Coaches should be sure to follow any restrictions that a player’s doctor has placed on practice activities and game participation.
Return to Play Guidelines
Players suspected of sustaining a concussion, or showing signs or symptoms of a concussion, must be removed from play immediately and may not return to play before:
- the day after the suspected concussion occurred
- the player is no longer showing any signs or symptoms of a concussion
- and, the player has been cleared to return to play by a health care professional