At the beginning of each season, the Eliot River Ramblers Soccer Club recommends coaches, parents and/or players review Canada Soccer’s Concussion Policy in its entirety or at a minimum review the Summary section, which states:
Head Injury Recognition
All board members, staff, coaches, players, parents, officials and spectators are responsible for recognizing and reporting players who demonstrate signs of a head injury or who report concussion symptoms.
If any player who sustains a significant impact to the head, face, neck or body and demonstrates any of the visual clues of a suspected concussion or reports any symptoms of a suspected concussion;
if a player reports any concussion symptoms to one of their peers or if one of their peers witnesses a player exhibiting any of the visual signs of a concussion.
Visual clues of a concussion include:
What an injured player might say:
When in doubt, sit them out
If any of the following signs or symptoms are present following an injury the player should be suspected of having concussion and immediately removed in a safe manner from play or training.
‘Red flag’ symptoms that may indicate more serious injury include:
If a neck injury is suspected the player should not be moved and should only be removed from the field of play by emergency healthcare professionals with appropriate spinal care training. Call 911.
The Concussion Recognition Tool 5 (CRT5) can be used in concussion recognition.
Onsite Medical Assessment
A licensed healthcare professional with expertise in the evaluation and management of head injury and concussions may review a player with suspected concussion at field side.
A player who has been removed from play who reports no concussion symptoms and no visual clues of a concussion can be returned to play. Any such player should be monitored for delayed symptoms, which may appear over the next 24-48 hours. All cases of suspected concussion require referral to medical doctors or nurse practitioners for diagnosis, even if the symptoms resolve.
If no licensed health professionals are present, the CRT5 is used for the purposes of recognition and removal and medical assessment is performed as per Section 4 (Medical Assessment) below.
For children and adolescents with suspected concussion who have not been directly transferred for medical management, coaches must communicate their concerns directly with the parents or guardians.
Once removed from play, the player with suspected concussion must be referred to a medical doctor or nurse practitioner with training in the evaluation and management of head injury and concussions.
Avoiding physical and brain activities that make concussive symptoms worse is the cornerstone of current concussion management.
An initial period of 24 to 48 hours of cognitive and physical rest is implemented. Following the initial period of rest, individuals gradually resume activity as tolerated. First comes return to school and then return to sport. This protocol from Parachute Canada can guide the return to school and sports.
If a player is not recovering in the initial days to weeks following a concussion, consultation by a physician with expertise in concussion and access to a multidisciplinary care team is recommended. Ongoing and regular contact should occur between the physician and the care team.
Return to Sport
Players who have been removed from play and referred for medical assessment for a suspected concussion who provide a completed Concussion Assessment Medical Report that is signed by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner which documents no active concussion may participate in training sessions and game play.
A player with prolonged concussion recovery (i.e., more than 4 weeks for youth athletes, more than 2 weeks for adult athletes), or recurrent or complicated concussions, should be assessed and managed by a medical doctor with experience in sports-related concussions, working within a multidisciplinary team.