This is Part 2 of our 2-part series. In Part 1, we talked about the prevalence of concussions, the signs and symptoms, and the important role parents and coaches play in preventing and treating them.
Based on a foundation of competition and physical perseverance, it’s hard to withstand the “win at all costs” pressure that has come to exist in athletics. CoachUp football coach and former Patriots offensive tackle, Max Lane, recognizes that pressure but also understands the life-long impact this injury can have on an athlete. “Everybody wants to win. Coaches have to let the players know that at the beginning of the season that the coach is fostering an atmosphere of safety first, even when that means safety over winning. The coach has to communicate to the players that it’s okay for them to speak up if they’ve been hit in the head.”
Coaches, trainers and parents must come together to create an environment where athletes feel empowered to speak up when something is wrong. Those changes must begin at the youth level where proper technique and good, clean, legal play are consistently enforced and, above all, applauded.
While parents may not be teaching their athletes the finer details of strategy and technique, parents can reinforce a safe sports environment by not promoting or encouraging moves that might comprise an athlete’s safety. Parents can also remind athletes of concussion symptoms to be on the lookout for, throughout the season in order to keep the injury front of mind.
CoachUp Top 5 Concussion Prevention Tips for Parents and Coaches
1. Educate yourself. Learn the symptoms of concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Review the CDC’s fact sheet for parents and take the CDC’s free online course. Be familiar with the CDC’s guide for coaches.
2. Educate your children. Review the CDC’s fact sheet for athletes with your child and quiz your child on the symptoms on an ongoing basis. http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/Athletes_Fact_Sheet-a.pdf
3. Encourage open communication and ask questions. Introduce yourself to your child’s coach in a friendly and open manner so that the coach will always feel comfortable coming to you with any concerns regarding your child. Then ask your child’s coach how he or she will be conducting concussion education over the course of your child’s season. Continue to maintain regular contact with the coach over the season and encourage your child to talk to his coach on a regular basis, so he or she develops a comfortable and open relationship with their coach. An honest relationship with their coach and knowing you are communicating with their coach regularly will encourage your child to air concerns more openly should they sustain a concussion or injury in play.
4. Know who the medical professional is. Identify whom the trainer or medical professional is at your child’s sports organization or school, and find out if they will be attending games. You should alway know who is in charge of medical care or who to speak with should your child ever get hurt. Make sure your child’s medical information is always on file and up to date with their sports organization and school.
5. Celebrate safe and legal play. During, and after competitions, make an extra effort to celebrate when your child makes a play that is completed with good form and technique. If you see your child making plays that are overly violent, talk to your child about it immediately after the game. If your child says that was how he was taught to play, consider following up with your child’s coach to review how you can help reinforce safe play with your child, which, will help reinforce coach that you want your child being coached safely.
Written by the experts at CoachUp. Visit them at www.coachup.com