For Coaches

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You and others who coach young athletes are helping make Washington safer by taking young athletes out of games if they may have suffered a concussion.

A concussion is a brain injury and all brain injuries – even mild ones – are serious. Recognizing these injuries and acting quickly to get an athlete out of the game can prevent further injury or even death.

Recent research shows that concussions are serious injuries that can have huge impacts on an athlete’s life. We know you work hard to create healthy environments for your athletes and we want to help be a part of your team.

Athletes who show any symptoms after a hit should be removed immediately from play. They should never be returned to play during the same day. As you know, an injured athlete is vulnerable and can be killed if they have a second concussion while they are still symptomatic.

More commonly, athletes that keep playing with symptoms may take longer to recover. We know that the first concussion cannot always be prevented but we can ensure that no symptomatic athlete returns too early.

When in doubt, sit them out

Sideline concussion management is challenging and difficult (even for your team doctor or trainer) and “when in doubt, sit them out” is the safest strategy. If you suspect any injury, remove that athlete from the game and evaluate them immediately.

What can be confusing is that symptoms don’t always show up immediately. You might see a player get hit, remove him from the game, but he or she may not show memory problems, headache, nausea or any other symptoms until later.

He or she needs to be monitored on the sideline to make sure that he or she does not show symptoms or get worse. Any athlete that has loss of consciousness that lasts longer than a few seconds, repeated vomiting, increasing drowsiness, neck pain or neurologic problems (weakness, paralysis, etc.) should be sent to the emergency department.

Concussions are a medical diagnosis and do best when managed by a health care professional. Keep up the all your hard work and let’s team up to keep Washington safe for our student-athletes.

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