What Should I do if I Suspect a Concussion?

Coach

  • If in doubt sit them out. – No matter whether the player is a key member of the team or the game is about to end, a player with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from play. You will most likely not have access to medical expertise so you will not be in a position to diagnose the situation.

  • Ensure that the player is evaluated by a GP. Again do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Healthcare professionals have a number of methods that they can use to assess the severity of concussions. Recording the following information can help GP’s in assessing the player 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).

  • Keep the player out of play the day of the injury and until the GP says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play. After you remove a player with a suspected concussion from practice or play, the decision about when to return to practice or play is a medical decision.

Parents

If your child has sustained a head injury/concussion It is important that you do the following:

  • Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of concussion (download your pocket tool here)

  • Have your child evaluated by a GP. Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Their brains are still developing. If it’s not diagnosed and managed right they could take a lot longer to get better, have a brain injury that never heals, be out of sports for a very long time, or – though rare – if they get another concussion before they’ve healed, the results could be fatal.

  • Monitor your child’s symptoms at home and report any new or worsening symptoms to your GP as well as school/club if relevant

  • Don’t let your child back out on the day of the injury. Wait until the GP says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.

  • Help protect your child’s brain. If he or she has been concussed, they will need complete cognitive rest to heal from a concussion. That means limiting television, computer screens, video games, text messaging, reading, loud music/noises and homework while recovering. Your GP will advise you on the appropriate approach.

Player

  • Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of concussion (download your pocket tool here)

  • If you experience any of the symptoms report this to a coach, referee, parent, friend or team mate

  • Listen to what they say. Often your judgement will be impaired so you may not be in a position to take the right decision

  • Don’t return to play until your GP says you can return

Cerdit and thanks to concussionaware.ie for all of the above.

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