Keep a young athlete with a possible concussion out of play the same day of the injury and until cleared by a health care provider. Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Only a health care provider should assess a young athlete for a possible concussion. After you remove a young athlete with a possible concussion from practice or play, the decision about return to practice or play is a medical decision that should be made by a health care provider. As a coach, recording the following information can help a health care provider in assessing the young athlete after the injury:
Cause of the injury and force of the hit or blow to the head or body
Any loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out) and if so, for how long
Inform the young athlete’s parent(s) about the possible concussion, and give them the HEADS UP fact sheet for parents. This fact sheet can help parents watch the young athlete for concussion signs or symptoms that may show up or get worse once the young athlete is at home or returns to school.
Ask for written instructions from the young athlete’s health care provider on return to play. These instructions should include information about when they can return to play and what steps you should take to help them safely return to play. Before returning to play an athlete should:
Be back to doing their regular school activities.
Not have any symptoms from the injury when doing normal activities.
Have the green-light from their health care provider to begin the return to play process.