The most important strategy for the prevention of concussions is EDUCATION, EDUCATION and EDUCATION. Although tremendous advances have been made in protective equipment, no piece of gear that prevents concussions has been developed. Helmets protect against head injuries, such as fractures and lacerations, but they do not protect the brain inside the skull. Athletes often believe they are protected and use their helmet as a tool to tackle or hit an opponent. Similarly, athletes think the opponent is protected by the helmet and will direct a blow to the opponent’s head with an elbow, stick or other body part. No matter how the hit occurs, the brain is being exposed to injury.
Athletes must recognize that the brain inside the skull is not protected from these types of blows or when the head hits the ground after a fall or tackle. They must also be educated about the consequences of a brain injury should they sustain or cause a concussion to someone else. Armed with this information, the athletes should be encouraged to follow fair and respectful participation in sport.
The responsibility of fair and respectful play goes beyond just the athlete. Coaches have a tremendous influence on the character and behaviors of the team as a whole and on every individual athlete on that team. It is the coach’s responsibility to instill and, in fact, insist on fair and respectful play. Proper coaching techniques on how to safely control an opponent and how to safely be controlled (hit) by an opponent is an essential part of coaching.
Officials also play an important role in injury prevention and detection. As much as officials are in a game to enforce the rules, they are also educators. They can control the tone of the game. It is the officials’ responsibility to prevent dangerous, aggressive behavior beyond the scope of the game that could lead to increasingly injurious activity. Officials are also another pair of eyes on the field who should be watching for the subtle signs of concussion. Erratic behavior, unusual comments and other strange actions should be reported to the coach or medical staff, so the athletes can be further assessed.
Officials should be supportive of the medical staff when they are assessing an athlete on the field. Officials can help control the crowd and other players around the injured athlete and communicate any necessary information to the sidelines. They should not be pressuring the medical staff to rush the on-field assessment.
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StopConcussions is a non-profit company, that aims to bring players, parents, coaches and officials information on brain concussions and their consequences in contact sports.
This website is here to help educate and are not intended to replace medical care and/or professional supervision. There is no substitute for a competent neurologist, physician, health professional or clinician when it comes to diagnosing and managing concussions. What StopConcussions offers is an insight into the nature of a brain injury. It is a guide to help you understand the cause, effects and consequences of concussions as well as how you can help reduce the incidences of the injury, manage the injury better and be able to ask all the right questions when dealing with a concussed individual.
The brain is complex, and each injury is personalized. Not only is every brain different, so is every concussion, and the therapy must be tailored to each individual. With this said, only a physician or qualified healthcare professional who has been educated in concussions can recommend a treatment and rehabilitation program. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a specific injury, contact your physician immediately.
Whether you need help dealing with a concussion, need information or other materials or are a concerned parent or coach, we are happy to help. Please contact us with any and all inquiries regarding our field.