Here are some of the concussion safety tips for coaches of youth sports to help prevent and properly address injuries
Fall sports are upon us. As kids take the field, the International Concussion Society encourages coaches to be on the lookout for possible concussions. With the right plan, coaches can make sure that their players have a safe, successful season. Here are five concussion safety tips for coaches:
#1. Promote Open Communication
Round up your players at the beginning of the season to stress the importance of safety. Encourage young athletes to speak up when they are feeling off after a hard hit. Young athletes are especially influenced by their peers and may be reluctant to speak up about concussion symptoms. Make sure that kids know that it’s okay and encouraged to let a coach know that something isn’t right. Having this conversation sets the tone for the season. It also positions coaches as people who care about both the game and their players.
#2. Explain the Risks
It important for players to feel comfortable reporting their suspected concussions. But they also need to understand what’s at stake if they let an injury go unchecked. Without scaring your players, highlight the potential complications that can come from untreated concussions. Remember to base this conversation on your players’ ages and levels of understanding. Don’t talk over their heads.
#3. Implement a Concussion Protocol
There needs to be a system in place for when young athletes are suspected of sustaining a concussion. This involves certain checks that need to take place and tests that have to be conducted. Thankfully, coaches do not have to create these kinds of programs all on their own. In fact, Mayo Clinic developed the Mayo Clinic Concussion Check, a simple system that can be used to meet this need. The protocol, which features the King-Devick Test in association with Mayo Clinic, is so simple to conduct that it does not require any medical training. To learn more about Concussion Check and read articles from the Mayo Clinic team, visit the Mayo Clinic website.
#4. Involve Parents
In youth sports, parents are an essential part of the team. In the event of a concerning hit, parents and coaches can be the first line of defense against concussion. They need to work together to monitor players and only return them to play with a clean bill of health. For coaches, this means meeting with parents and finding volunteers to familiarize themselves with the team’s concussion protocol.
#5. Educate Yourself
You, the coach, should be leading the charge in addressing concussion risks. This means it’s essential for you to know that facts, figures and statistics about concussion. You must be able to explain how serious concussion is, and how to prevent it from happening or going unchecked. Concussion.Org is a valuable resource for making this happen. Make sure to check out our Concussion Resources and our News page for more concussion safety tips for coaches.