Helping children and adolescents with their concussion care and returning to school, play, sport and daily life activities requires the support of many. As a coach, you have an important role to play! The information below is based on the Living Guideline for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion. If you are a coach who has never had a child/adolescent with a concussion, use this information to build your knowledge. For teachers who have had a child/adolescent with a concussion, use this information to advocate for the care and support the student may need.
To download the Coach’s Guide to Supporting a Student with Concussion, click here.
1. BE AWARE OF YOUR ORGANIZATION’S POLICY ON CONCUSSION
Find out what the concussion protocol and policy is at your sport organization. If it does not have a protocol or policy, talk to your administration about putting one in place.
2. KNOW ABOUT CONCUSSION AND WHAT TO DO
If a child/adolescent has a significant impact to the head, face, neck, or body and reports any symptoms or shows any of the visual signs of a concussion, you should suspect a concussion. Find out more about concussions and signs to look for here.
A child/adolescent returning to sport too soon after a concussion can lead to another injury and/or affect how they recover. If you suspect a child/adolescent concussion:
- sit them out
- contact the parents immediately
- recommend that the student be seen by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner as soon as possible
3. UNDERSTAND THE STEPS INVOLVED IN RECOVERY
Everyone’s experience with concussion is different. As a coach, you can play an active role in supporting all children/ adolescents with a concussion to make a gradual and individualized (step-by-step) return-to-sport. Use the steps below to guide this process
Steps to return-to-school and sport can happen at the same time. It is important that the student return-to-school full-time at a full academic load (i.e. writing exams without accommodations in place as a result of the concussion) before completely returning to full-contact sport or high-risk activities.
4. COMMUNICATE WITH CHILD/ADOLESCENT, FAMILY, AND TEACHERS
Have ongoing conversations about concussion symptoms, medical management and recovery so that you can best support the child/adolescent through the concussion recovery process. If you notice that the child/adolescent is developing new concussion-like symptoms or sustains a new suspected concussion, recommend that they be seen by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner.
Looking for resources? Click here to find our list of resources for service providers.