POLICIES AND PROCEDURES REGARDING THE IDENTIFICATION AND HANDLING OF SUSPECTED CONCUSSIONS IN YOUTH ATHLETES
A concussion is a brain injury that is characterized by an onset of impairment of cognitive and/or physical functioning, and is caused by a blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body that causes a sudden jarring of the head (i.e., a helmet to the head, being knocked to the ground). A concussion can occur with or without a loss of consciousness, and proper management is essential to the immediate safety and long-term future of the injured individual. A concussion can be difficult to diagnose, and failing to recognize the signs and symptoms in a timely fashion can have dire consequences.
Most athletes who experience a concussion can recover completely as long as they do not return to play prematurely. The effects of repeated concussions can be cumulative, and after a concussion, there is a period in which the brain is particularly vulnerable to further injury. If an athlete sustains a second concussion during this period, the risk of permanent brain injury increases significantly and the consequences of a seemingly mild second concussion can be very severe, and even result in death (i.e., “second impact syndrome”).
Appropriate licensed health care provider means a physician, physician assistant, osteopath or athletic trainer licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine; a neuropsychologist licensed by the Board of Psychology; or a nurse practitioner licensed by the Virginia State Board of Nursing.
Return to play means participate in a nonmedical supervised practice or athletic competition.
- In order to participate in any Leesburg FC sports activity, each youth athlete and the youth athlete’s parent or guardian shall review and acknowledge, on an annual basis, the current Leesburg FC Concussion Information Statement. Youth athletes and their parents/guardians also are encouraged to review information on concussions provided by the CDC’s free online program available at http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html. After having reviewed such materials describing the short- and long-term health effects of concussions, each youth athlete and the youth athlete’s parent or guardian shall sign a statement acknowledging receipt and review of the Leesburg FC Concussion Information Statement; and
- In order to participate in any Leesburg FC sports activity, each coach, assistant coach, and athletic trainer shall review on an annual basis, information on concussions provided by CDC’s Heads Up coaching education and certification of concussion awareness at http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html.
III. A youth athlete suspected by that youth athlete’s coach, athletic trainer, referee or other Leesburg FC adult volunteer of sustaining a concussion or brain injury in a practice or game shall be removed from the activity at that time. A youth athlete who has been removed from play, evaluated, and suspected to have a concussion or brain injury shall not return to play that same day nor until (i) evaluated by an appropriate licensed health care provider (as defined below) and (ii) in receipt of written clearance to return to play from such licensed health care provider.
- IV. Protocol for return to play
- No member of a youth athletic team shall participate in any athletic event or practice the same day he or she is injured and:
- exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors attributable to a concussion; or
- has been diagnosed with a concussion.
- No member of a youth athletic team shall return to participate in a youth sports event or training on the days after he/she experiences a concussion unless all of the following conditions have been met:
- the youth no longer exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion, at rest or with exertion;
- the youth is asymptomatic during, or following periods of supervised exercise that is gradually intensifying; and
- the youth receives a written medical release from a licensed health care provider.
Additional resources can be found on the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/concussion. Links provided below:
Coaches Education & Certification of Concussion Awareness Training:
Fact Sheets: Coaches:
Fact Sheets & Acknowledgement Form: Parents
Fact Sheets & Acknowledgement Form: Players