A concussion is a brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell run, “ or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.
You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.
According to Minnesota State Law, all coaches and officials must receive initial training regarding concussions. Minnesota Hockey requires coaches to participate in refresher training at least once every year thereafter. Each coach must complete and provide a certification and acknowledgement form to the association outlining the coach's understanding of his/her responsibilities related to concussion prevention and management prior to participating in any team activities.
The following are tools that can be used to assess a player if you suspect a concussion. These are not diagnostic tools. For proper diagnosis, the player should always be seen by a health care professional.
MEMORY: Ask the player questions they should know the answer to such as date, period, opponent.
FOCUS: Talk with the player, are they focusing on the conversation? Able to speak with coherent sentences?
PHYSICAL TEST: Ask the player to touch their finger to their nose numerous times, is the player able to do this properly?
While assessing the player, keep in mind the most common signs and symptoms of concussions.
If you suspect a player has a concussion, you should take the following steps:
A head coach or coach in charge of any team activity who has knowledge of a player sustaining a concussion or exhibiting concussion type symptoms shall complete a Minnesota Hockey Concussion Reporting and Return to Play form relating to the injury and ensure that the form is delivered to the team manager within 48 hours of receipt of information that a player sustained a concussion or exhibited concussion type symptoms. The team manager shall provide a copy of the report to the player’s parent or legal guardian and association president or other delegated representative tasked with monitoring reports under this rule. Until the completed Return to Play portion of the form is received by the team manager or coach, the coach and team manager shall ensure that the player does not participate in any team physical activities.
These guidelines are meant to act as a suggestion for players after they suffer a concussion. The length of each phase varies depending on the severity of the concussion and the individual. Players should continue to the next phase only if all the signs and symptoms of a concussion are gone. An informed health care professional should be consulted throughout the return to play protocol, especially if the signs and symptoms continue or reappear at any time.
Dr. Mike Evans provides an easy-to-understand introduction to the dangers of concussions and the mystery surrounding concussion treatment.
Hal Tearse, Former Minnesota Hockey Coach-In-Chief & Current Safety Committee Chair discusses concussions, signs, symptoms, recovery time and prevention.