VYS Adopts New Concussion Policy

Spring 2015

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Vienna Youth Soccer, Inc.
Concussion Policy

This document describes the policies and procedures to be followed by coaches, players and parents of Vienna Youth Soccer, Inc. (VYS). This policy is effective December 5, 2014.


What Is A Concussion? - A concussion is a type of brain injury caused by a traumatic bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Typical symptoms include headache, confusion, disorientation, feeling dazed, loss of balance, double vision, nausea and sensitivity to light or noise. All concussions are serious and most concussions occur without loss of consciousness. Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or more serious complications. A second blow to the head of a concussed player may result in more serious effects as a brain that has suffered trauma is more susceptible to injury. In some cases, repeat concussions have caused permanent brain damage. Any player suspected to have suffered a concussion should be evaluated by a qualified medical professional. More information is available at: CDC: Injury Prevention and Control: Traumatic Brain Injury. 

How to Recognize A Concussion: Watch for the following two things among your athletes: A forceful bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head AND any change in the athlete’s behavior, thinking, or physical functioning.

Athletes who experience any of the signs and symptoms listed below after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body should be kept 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.

Signs Observed by Coaching Staff Symptoms Reported by Athlete
Appears dazed or stunned Headache or “pressure” in head
Is confused about assignment or position Nausea or vomiting
Forgets an instruction Balance problems or dizziness
Is unsure of game, score, or opponent Double or blurry vision
Moves clumsily Sensitivity to light
Answers questions slowly Sensitivity to noise
Loses consciousness (even briefly) Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes Concentration or memory problems
Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall Confusion
Can’t recall events after hit or fall Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down”

Remember, you can’t see a concussion and some athletes may not experience and/or report symptoms until hours or days after the injury. Most people with a concussion will recover quickly and fully. But for some people, signs and symptoms of concussion can last for days, weeks, or longer.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/recognize.html

What To 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 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. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first—usually within a short period of time (hours, days, or weeks)—can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems. In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in edema (brain swelling), permanent brain damage, and even death.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/response.html

Concussion Prevention – VYS is committed to injury prevention and the safety of players is our highest priority. It is far better to prevent or avoid a concussion than to try to correct the damage once it is done. The human brain is very sensitive to damage and takes time to heal from injury. Coaches should make every effort to prevent head injuries through teaching proper technique, sportsmanship and organizing/supervising practices to avoid situations that can lead to injury. If an injury occurs, coaches must immediately provide proper care and attention to the injured player and remove the player from practice/play where appropriate. This is especially important for injuries to the head. When in doubt, take the player out of the game/practice.

Concussion Education/Awareness – VYS endeavor to host a concussion awareness class every season to help coaches, team managers, parents and players become more aware of the causes, symptoms and care of concussions. All VYS volunteer coaches and professional trainers must read and acknowledge the concussion awareness statements provided by VYS before coaching/training players. In addition, all volunteer coaches and professional trainers must read and sign the concussion policy provided by VYS before the first practice/game of each season. All coaches must take and pass the CDC concussion awareness course at: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html. Upon completion, coaches must keep a copy of the course certificate for audit. Each season, all parents and players will be provided with a copy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) fact sheet on concussion awareness with their receipt for registration. The CDC fact sheet for parents is available at: CDC Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports Fact Sheet for Parents.  The CDC fact sheet for players is available at: CDC Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports Fact Sheet for Athletes.

Parents and players shall acknowledge reading these fact sheets during registration, sign the attached Concussion Policy, Educational Information and Awareness Form and provide the signed form to their player’s coach or team manager before participating in activities each season. The coach or team manager shall retain these forms for the duration of the season.

Concussion Disclosure – All parents are required to disclose at registration if their child has suffered a concussion within the last 12 months and, if so, whether the child has been cleared to play soccer with no restrictions by a qualified medical professional. Parents will also be required to provide a copy of the medical professional’s written release to their player’s coach or team manager. If any player suffers a concussion, the player’s parents shall notify VYS and provide a written release to the player’s coach or team manager from a qualified medical professional before the player will be allowed to participate in VYS activities. The coaches and team managers shall ensure the confidentiality of all medical information.

Baseline Testing – Baseline testing is used to record a player’s cognitive responses prior to injury to assist in later evaluation by a qualified medical professional. Responses to a baseline test are age dependent so testing should be repeated every couple of years. Some helpful information on baseline testing may be found at: Inova/Concussion Education and the CDC site. VYS encourages all players U-9 and older to complete a baseline test (such as the ImPACT test) upon initial registration and bi-annually thereafter. The cost of this testing is typically about $35. As a point of reference for parents, Fairfax County Public High Schools require baseline testing for all student athletes prior to participation in organized sporting activities.

Initial Occurrence – If a coach or assistant coach observes a traumatic blow to the head, especially one that the player did not expect or see coming, then that player shall be removed immediately from the game or practice if the player exhibits any of the symptoms of a possible concussion, such as headache, confusion, disorientation, feeling dazed, loss of balance, double vision, nausea, sensitivity to light/noise or loss of consciousness. A coach may elect to remove a player from a game or practice even though there are no symptoms if the coach deems that the blow was severe enough to possibly cause a brain injury. Coaches are not qualified to make a judgment on the severity of a head injury. In many cases, there may be no concussion but this decision can only be made by a qualified medical professional with experience in evaluating and treating brain injuries. The coach will inform the parent or guardian that the player received a blow to the head and provide the Head Injury Report Form and the CDC fact sheet for parents (CDC Heads Up Fact Sheet: Concussion in Youth Sports) to the player’s parent(s).  The coach will also retain a copy of the form.

Return to Play – A player who has been removed from practice or a game due to a blow to the head will not be allowed to return to physical activity with VYS until his/her parent has had the player evaluated by a qualified medical physician and submits a written statement from the medical professional that the player is fully able to participate in soccer. The coach or team manager and VYS Administrator will retain a copy of the medical professional’s release to play.

Violations of Policy – A coach found to be in violation of this policy will be suspended from coaching for 2 games (and associated practices) for an initial violation. A subsequent violation will result in suspension for the remainder of the season. Any additional violations will result in a coach being permanently suspended from coaching with VYS. Any parent that does not notify VYS of a concussion to their child shall receive a written notification of violation of this policy upon VYS learning of the violation. A further violation of policy shall result in suspension from VYS activities for the remainder of the season with no refund of fees.

DOWNLOAD COPY OF VYS CONCUSSION POLICY (pdf)

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Mailing Address: Vienna Youth Soccer, Inc. | P.O. Box 993, Vienna, VA 22183  |  Phone: 703-242-3828