Concussions - Return to Play Act
Cherokee Recreation & Parks Policy
Concussions at all levels of recreational activity have received a great deal of attention in the past few years, culminating with national organizations testifying before the United States Congress about what each one is doing to protect participants from concussion.
Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the effects of concussion. Once considered little more than a minor “ding” on the head, it is now understood that a concussion has the potential to result in death, or short- and long-term changes in brain function.
In compliance with the passage of House Bill 284, and to ensure the ongoing safety of our program participants, the following protocols are in effect:
- At the time of registration, a concussion informational sheet emphasizing the risks of concussions shall be distributed to the parents/guardians of all participants. Concussion information will also be provided for online registrations during the online registration process.
- Anyone who participates in CRPA programs and exhibits signs of a concussion must be removed from the game, practice, competition or activity and must be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
- Any participant who is deemed by a healthcare provider as sustaining a concussion shall not be permitted to return to play or participate until he/she no longer has concussion symptoms and provides written clearance from a health care provider for a full or graduated return to play.
At the time of online registration, this information will be provided to the parent/guardian registering. He/she will have to click to acknowledge and agree to this information when completing the online transaction.
All volunteer coaches are encouraged to complete the free training below and submit a printed copy of the certificate of completion to CRPA. CDC Heads Up:Concussion in Youth Sports Online Training Course. The training features interviews with leading experts, dynamic graphics and interactive exercises to get coaches, parents and others prepared for the new season in less than 30 minutes. The information will help persons recognize concussion and know how to respond if a concussion is suspected. Please visit the CDC website for the training.
Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth, changing the way the brain normally works.
- Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
- Signs and symptoms can show up right after the injury or may not appear until days or weeks later.
- If an athlete has a concussion, his/her brain needs time to heal. Rest is key in recovering.
- While an athlete's brain is still healing, s/he is much more likely to have another concussion.
- Athletes who have, at any point in their lives, had a concussion have an increased risk for another concussion.
Repeat concussions can increase the time it takes to recover.
- Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults.
- Even a "ding," "getting your bell rung," or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.
- In rare cases, repeat concussions in young athletes can result in brain swelling, permanent brain damage or can even be fatal.
Concussion Signs & Symptoms
Signs Observed by Staff, Coach, or Parent
Symptoms Reported by Athletes
Appears dazed or stunned
Headache or "pressure" in head
Is confused about assignment or position
Nausea or vomiting
Forgets an instruction or play
Balance problems or dizziness
Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
Double or blurry vision
Sensitivity to light
Answers questions slowly
Sensitivity to noise
Loses consciousness (even briefly)
Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
Shows mood, behavior, or personality change
Concentration or memory problems
Can't recall events prior to hit or fall
Can't recall events after hit or fall
Just not "feeling right" or "feeling down"
The Following Danger Signs Represent a Medical Emergency
- One pupil is larger than the other
- Drowsiness or inability to be awakened
- A headache that not only does not diminish, but gets worse
- Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Slurred speech
- Convulsions or seizures
- Inability to recognize people or places
- Increasingly confused, restless or agitated
- Unusual behavior
- Loss of consciousness
Dealing with a Suspected Concussion
- Remove your child from play.
- Do not try to judge the severity of the injury.
- Seek medical attention. Consult a doctor properly trained to diagnose concussions.
- Keep the athlete out of play until a healthcare professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says it is okay to return to play.
Steps to Recovery
Athletes that have sustained a concussion need to get as much rest as possible in the days and weeks following the incident to help the brain recover and heal. Resting includes getting adequate sleep, refraining from physical activities and avoiding cognitive activities such as video games, watching television, board games, schoolwork, etc. Allow daily naps or even breaks from daily activity if your child feels tired.
Parents should check for any additional symptoms developing over the days following the incident.
- Return to Play:
The health care provider should provide recommendations and an action plan for returning to daily life to include school and athletics. Gradual reentry may be needed to include shortened or half days at school, measured return to athletics from light participation to full competition.
Educate Your Athlete
Discuss with your child a list of symptoms they might experience during an activity as a result of a concussion and stress the importance of reporting a bump or blow to their head to you or a coach, even if they feel fine.
Teach your child to play by the rules and demonstrate good sportsmanship.
Ensure your child knows how to wear their protective equipment properly, making sure it fits well and is used every time they play.