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GNAA FOOTBALL CONCUSSION POLICY

Click Here to Download the Information Sheet for Parents/Guardians
(Must be signed and returned for eligibility)

Parents/Guardians of Athletes: In order to help protect the athletes in the GNAA Football Program, please read the following Information Sheet which tracks Virginia law (Senate Bill 652 Concussion in Student Athletes) as well as the guidelines set out by the Virginia Beach Public Schools Concussion Policy.

What is a concussion?

The GNAA football program is doing everything in its power to prevent injuries to its players. All coaches and players are instructed in the proper way to play the game. We have banned certain drills that might lead to injury. However injuries can occur. Its important as a parent that you be informed. There has been a lot of discussion regarding concussions recently. A concussion, though rare, can happen. (Concussions occur in every sport-female high school soccer athletes suffer almost 40% more concussions than males; female basketball players almost 240% more than their male counterparts). All concussions are serious. It is characterized by an onset of impairment of cognitive and/or physical functioning, and is caused by a blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body that causes a sudden jarring of the head (a helmet to the head, being knocked to the ground etc). A concussion can occur with or without a loss of consciousness. Proper management is essential to the immediate safety and long, term future of the injured individual. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first-usually within a short period of time (hours, days, or weeks)-can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long term problems.

What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?

Signs observed by teammates, coaches, parents/guardians include: Symptoms reported by athlete may include one or more of the following:
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignments and positions
  • Forgets instructions and answers questions slowly or inaccurately
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Loss of balance/coordination and moves clumsily
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Cannot recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Cannot recall events after hit or fall
  • Headache or "pressure" in head
    Nausea/vomting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light or sound/noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, groggy, or foggy
  • Difficulty with concentration, short-term memory and/or confusion
  • Double vision or changes in vision
  • Irritability
  • Just not "feeling right" or is "feeling down"
*Adapted From CDC

How can you help your child prevent a concussion?

Every sport is different, but there are steps your child can take to protect themselves from concussion:

  • Ensure that they follow their coach's rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
  • Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Make sure they properly wear the right protective equipment that is required for their sport (such as helmets, padding, shin guards, eye and mouth guards).
  • Learn the signs and symptoms.

What should you do if you think your child has a concussion?

  1. Seek medical attention right away. A licensed health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to sports.
  2. Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don't let your child return to play until a licensed health care professional gives clearance to return. Children who return to play too soon-while the brain is still healing-risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Second or later concussions, can be very serious. This can lead to prolonged recovery, or even to severe brain swelling (second impact syndrome) with devastating and even fatal consequences.
  3. Tell your child's coach about any recent concussions. Your child's coach may not know about a concussion your child received in another sport or activity unless you tell the coach.
  4. Refer to the Concussion Graduated Return to Play guidelines below to familiarize yourself with the process used to determine when it is safe for your child to gradually return to full activity.

CONCUSSION GRADUATED RETURN TO PLAY:

  • When an athlete has been evaluated by a physician for a concussion the following graduated functional return to play will be followed The return to play progression will not begin until the athlete is completely symptom free. Each stage is a minimum 24 hour period; therefore the return to play progression will be a minimum of 4-5 days.
  • If the athlete experiences any symptoms, at any point during the rehabilitation stages, the progression will stop immediately and the cycle will resume at the previous asymptomatic rehabilitation stage after 24 hours of rest. If symptoms continue to occur, the athlete will be referred back to the physician for a follow up evaluation.
  • The treatment, management, and return to play determinations will be individualized to each athlete and dependent on circumstances of each specific case and injury.
  • A safe return to play is the ultimate goal regardless of age and level of play.
Rehabilitation Stage Functional Exercise Objective of Each Stage
Stage 1 - No Activity Physical/Cognitive Rest Recovery
Stage 2 - Light Aerobic Exercise Walking, Swimming, Bike Increase Heart Rate
Stage 3 - Sport-Specific Exercise Running Drills, NO Contact Add Movement
Stage 4 - Non-Contact DrillsĀ  Complex Drills, Resistance Training Exercise, Coordination, Cognitive Load/IMPACT
Stage 5 - Full Contact Following Clearance, Normal Training Activities Restore Confidence, Assess Functional Skills by Coaches
Stage 6 - Return to Play Normal Game Play  

REMEMBER: Don't Hide it. Report it. Take time to recover. It's better to miss one game than the whole season