Children get hurt all the time, and more so if they play sports. While parents and coaches are always concerned about the health of youth athletes, failing to understand warning signs and proper ways to respond can place kids at risk for suffering further harm.
In our previous blog, we discussed ways to recognize concussions, including concussion warning signs. While detecting a head injury is important, it is also crucial that parents, coaches, and trainers know what to do when young athletes do suffer a concussion.
Whether your child will be playing football this fall or any other sport, being aware of what to do after a concussion is suspected is of the utmost importance. This is because younger athletes, including youth football players, face increased brain injury risks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
Here are some tips reacting to a concussion:
- Immediately remove the athlete from play – No matter if the player is a leader on the team or if the game is about to end, any athlete who may have suffered a concussion should be taken out of play immediately. Coaches and parents can look for concussion warning signs, and when in doubt, sit them out.
- Get a medical evaluation – Coaches and parents shouldn't be deciding whether or not a young athlete is OK or ready to go back on the field. A health care professional should always be the one to evaluate an athlete and make recommendations about their treatment. Coaches and parents can help during these evaluations by providing information about the cause of the injury, the severity of the hit, and the player's symptoms.
- Let parents know – Coaches who have a young athlete suffer a possible concussion should always inform parents. In addition, they should provide information about concussions, stressing the importance of making sure a child is properly evaluated and monitored.
- Get the OK to return to play – Returning athletes to play too soon after a head injury places them at increased risks for suffering harm. We've seen just how dangerous this practice can be in many former athletes. Abide by laws if any apply in your league, city, or state, and always make sure a health care professional clears your athlete to return to play.
- Return to play gradually – Rest is very important after a concussion, as it gives the brain time to heal. Aside from getting clearance from a medical professional, make sure young athletes return gradually to play and daily activities. Letting athletes ignore symptoms or tough it out can make things worse, so monitor players closely as they slowly and gradually return to play and other activities that may be physically or mentally taxing. The CDC provides a step-by-step guide for returning young athletes to activity.
Following these steps after a young athlete suffers a possible concussion is something all parents, coaches, and trainers can do – and it can make a large difference in protecting their safety. At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we hope that everyone throughout South Carolina stays safe when enjoying sports this fall and the coming sports seasons!