I just read about the recent suspension of Texas Tech’s football coach, Mike Leach for “allegedly” isolating a player in a dark closet who refused to play with a concussion. Of course, if he indeed did what he is being accused of, he should be immediately released from further tenure. However, the incident is currently under investigation and I will leave that to the authorities.
What this incident does bring to the surface is how serious a concussion can be, not only to professional athletes but to our children as well. Over the past two years, twenty-six youth sports organizations, including USA Football have been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate the youth sports community on concussion awareness.
USA Football has published a concussion awareness policy which youth leagues are encouraged to adopt. USA Football recommends that every youth football league – and every youth sports league – employs such a policy.
- Educate athletes and parents about concussion including preventative measures, symptiom and proper action to take relative to concussions
- Emphasize the dangers of playing through a concussion
- Insist that safety comes first
- Teach athletes safe playing techniques and good sportsmanship
- “Concussion Fact Sheet for Players” found at usafootball.com with players and their parents
- Teach athletes and parents that it is not safe to play with a concussion
- Explain that it is not “courageous” nor does it show strength to play with a concussion
- “When in doubt, sit them out.” Keep athletes with known or suspected concussion off the field until an appropriate health care professional clears them to return. Returning to play must be a medical decision.
The following are signs & symptoms of a concussion:
- Dazed or stunned
- Headache or “pressure” in the head
- Confused about assignment or position
- Nausea or vomiting
- Forgets plays
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Double or blurry vision
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Shows behavior or personality changes
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Can’t recall events prior or after the hit or fall
- Concentration or memory problems