Lexington United Soccer Club considers its first priority to be the safety of its players. As part of this, LUSC recognizes that a concussion is a serious injury and should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, concussions can be difficult to diagnose, in part because the symptoms can be subtle and may not show up for hours or even days. For these reasons, it is key that parents, coaches and players take time to understand what concussions are and their potential consequences, recognize concussion signs and symptoms, know how to respond, and learn the steps for returning to activity after a concussion. Generally, LUSC’s philosophy on head injuries is “when in doubt, keep them out.”
To learn more, LUSC recommends visiting the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website on concussions in sports: http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/youthsports/training/index.html.
These documents are particularly useful:
LUSC has adopted the following policy for coaches, families and players regarding head injuries and concussions:
- Training. All LUSC volunteer and professional coaches (both travel and in-town) are required to complete the CDC’s Heads Up Online Training Course. Parents and players are also encouraged to complete the course. http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html
- Removal from practice or game. Any player, who during a practice or competition, sustains a head injury or suspected concussion, or exhibits signs and symptoms of a concussion, or loses consciousness, even briefly, must be removed from the practice or game immediately and may not return to the practice or competition that day.
- Communication. The coach will communicate the nature of the injury directly to the parent in person or by phone as soon as reasonably possible after the practice or competition in which a player has been removed from play for a head injury, suspected concussion, signs and symptoms of a concussion, or loss of consciousness. All parents registering players for a LUSC program are required to check a box to indicate agreement with the following: “I am aware of the LUSC Concussion Policy. If my child is diagnosed with a concussion during a LUSC activity or during any other activity including those outside LUSC, or if my player has a prior head injury, I will inform my child’s coach of such diagnosis prior to the start of the season or before my child returns to play.”
- Professional healthcare evaluation and authorization. LUSC strongly encourages families to seek the opinion of a healthcare professional prior to the player returning to play in a future game or practice. While each situation will be handled on a case by case basis, it is LUSC’s recommendation that a player not return to action until medical authorization from a healthcare professional is received.
The Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association also recognizes the seriousness of head injuries and concussions. To learn more from MYSA, including information regarding available cognitive baseline testing, please visit http://www.mayouthsoccer.org/coaches/concussions/. The Micheli Center in Waltham, which is linked to Children’s Hospital, performs baseline testing: http://www.themichelicenter.com/our-services/concussion-prevention-program.