FIRST: If you are a coach or a parent who wants an excellent crash course on the issue of 'Concussions', please take 30 minutes to watch and participate in this CDC training video BEFORE your next soccer season. Click HERE
All youth sports have some risk associated, and MAYSA soccer is no exception. The risk of concussions, however, is a particular focus recently as research has prompted a new law in Wisconsin, mandating concussion education for coaches, athletes and their parents, and anyone associated with youth athletic activity.
Simply stated, the research now shows that concussions have the potential for more serious consequences than had previously been known. Fortunately, a remedy exists: enforced, ample time for healing, with supervision by a trained health provider. Much good information is now available on the topic, referenced below. MAYSA encourages all members to take advantage of these resources - read the pamphlets, review the documentation, take 30 minutes to take the CDC course, and encourage your friends and teammates to do the same. Soccer is a relatively safe activity for all kids, but if a concussion injury does occur (or is suspected), the proper response by all is clear: REMOVE the player from the game and FOLLOW the guidelines for assessment and recovery.
NOTE: In Wisconsin, after a concussion, a player must now have a signed release by a medical provider as defined under Section 118.293 of the Wisconsin Statutes in order to return to play.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) —caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes your head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can literally cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. What you might not know is that these chemical changes make the brain more vulnerable to further injury. During this window of vulnerability, the brain is more sensitive to any increased stress or injury, until it fully recovers.
A concussion can occur from any type of contact in soccer such as colliding with a player, a goalpost, the ground, a ball. Note that 'heading the ball' is less dangerous with proper technique, but young kids should not be excessively trained in heading until more is known about its effects on young brain development.
Any age player is susceptible. More studies have been done on high school students, so we know, for instance, that by high school age, girl soccer players are diagnosed with concussions at twice the rate of boys.
But more research is needed on concussions in younger children. Discussion
A concussion can be hard to diagnose. Please see SYMPTOMS above for comprehensive lists of symptoms reported by athletes and observed by parents. Yet sometimes the only symptom is a headache. Seek attention from trained medical personnel when a concussion is suspected.
Assessment tools are being developed, for instance, ImPact baseline testing, taken prior to the sporting season, allows comparisons for evaluations post-concussion. Other programs are available as well.
YES. ALWAYS, even if you are not sure it is a concussion. The rule is: 'When in Doubt, Sit Them Out' - until released to play again by a medical professional.
A player may only return to a game after evaluation and release by a trained medical professional. If an athletic trainer is not present at a game, seek medical attention as soon as possible for an evaluation. Depending on the severity of the injury, and the individual, the return timelines differ.
Everyone involved with MAYSA is 'responsible' for removing a player with a possible concussion from MAYSA activities. Coaches and other adults are NOT, strictly speaking, liable for failure to enforce a child's removal from participation under the new law, except in extreme circumstances ("gross negligence"). But everyone is charged with making good decisions on behalf of our children.