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Concussions & Youth Sports

Monday, August 29, 2016

Youth Sports & Concussions for Coaches


All concussions are a brain injury.

All concussions are serious.

Concussions can occur without loss of consciousness.

Concussions can occur in any sport.

Recognition and proper management of concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death.

How can I Recognize a Possible Concussion?

To help recognize a concussion, you should watch for the following two things among your athletes:  (1) A forceful bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head AND (2) any change in the athlete's behavior, thinking, or physical functioning.

What Should I do If a Concussion Occurs?

If you suspect that an athlete has a concussion, implement your 4-step action plan:

(1) Remove the athlete from play.  Look for signs and symptoms of a concussion if your athlete has experienced a bump or blow to the head or body.  When in doubt, keep the athlete out of play.

(2) Ensure that the athlete is evaluated by a health care professional experienced in evaluating for a concussion.  Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself.  Health care professionals have a number of methods that they can use to assess the severity of concussions.  As a coach, recording the following information can help health care professionals in assessing the athlete after the injury:  cause of the injury and force of the hit or blow to the head or body; any loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out) and if so, for how long; any memory loss immediately following the injury; any seizures immediately following the injury; number of previous concussions (if any).

(3) Inform the athlete's parents or guardians about the possible concussion and give them the fact sheet on concussion. Make sure they know that the athlete should be seen by a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion.

(4) Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says they are symptom-free and it's OK to return to play. 

Why Should I be Concerned About Concussions?

Most athletes with a concussion will recover quickly and fully.  But for some athletes, signs and symptoms of concussion can last for days, weeks, or longer.  If an athlete has a concussion, his or her brain needs time to heal.  A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first-usually within a short time period (hours, days, weeks)-can slow recovery or increase the chances for long-term problems.  In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in brain swelling or permanent brain damage.  It can even be fatal.

Treatment:  Each Concussion is Unique!

At PHOENIX, we understand that no two concussion cases are the same.  Therefore, our evaluation and plans-of-care are specifically designed to address the specific need of each individual who has sustained a concussion.  Treatment of post-concussive syndrome in general will focus on symptom reduction, patient education, and promoting a return-to-previous lifestyle function.  Treatment most often includes elements of:  manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, vestibular rehabilitation and strength and endurance training.

Call PHOENIX for more information on how concussion rehabilitation can help you or someone you know.

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