1. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Our youngest child athletes by being coached by adult volunteers with little or no concussion education.
2. WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?
Untrained coaches who do not know how to recognize and respond to a possible concussion, increase the risk of more serious injury for child athlete. Ignoring the signs of a concussion and not removing a child from play also increases risk of liability for coaches, teams and city/school (whoever owns the fields on which the sports are being played).
3. HOW CAN YOUTH SPORTS INCREASE SAFETY AND LOWER LIABILITY?
Three key elements need to be in place:
- Free resources for training/education via online training/videos, paper flyers, and smart phone apps
- Proper concussion policy
- Coach/parent/player concussion plan MUST BE MANDATED by the city and/or the sports organization
4. IS IT POSSIBLE TO MANDATE CONCUSSION TRAINING AND NOT UPSET COACHES?
Yes, programs which have done so report that coaches find the training of value to them.
5. WHERE HAS MANDATED COACH TRAINING BEEN SUCCESSFUL?
The BokSmart Program: A COUNTRY WIDE PROGRAM
- 100% of Youth Rugby Coaches in South Africa are trained
- 78,000 coaches trained across the country in concussion education plus other first aid skills
- 8 hour course – must be taken first BEFORE a coach can coach a game. Refs check training cards before each match
- 100% of youth rugby players in the country now have trained coaches plus ALL INJURIES are tracked (KEY)
The Chicagoland Youth Football League: A REGIONAL PROGRAM
- 42 Communities in the Chicago Metro area
- 1857 coaches trained in concussion management using 90 min video
- 100% of Injuries are tracked weekly using injury reporting software (KEY)
- 360 teams all have at least 5 trained coaches
- 8615 youth football players now have trained coaches
- 180 games each weekend all covered by certified athlete trainers
- 360 team’s practices are covered by safety player coaches
- 0 the number of coaches who left due to the additional burden of concussion training
- 2 parents complained the first year and none the second
The City of Norwalk: A CITY PROGRAM (VIA PARKS AND REC) – Start date April 15, 2015
- 6,000 youth players
- 700 coaches
- 30 minute CDC Coach Training for all coaches, CDC fact sheets for parents/athletes
- Affects five baseball leagues, two soccer leagues, citywide lacrosse league plus the town sponsored basketball, field hockey and football teams
- User Groups or Organizations = mean any group or organization that has been granted permission to use any City of Norwalk recreation facility
- Athletic Activities and/or Athletic Programs = all activities including practices, training, performances, scrimmage, games and other organized competitions involving athletic activities such as sports and dance
To use any City of Norwalk recreation facility, a “User Group” providing “Athletic Activities or Programs” to children (age 7 to 18) must:
- Educate Coaches, Parents, and Athletes:
- Inform and educate coaches, through FREE CDC ONLINE training
- Educate athletes and parents and guardians about concussion via CDC concussion information sheet
- Remove From Play any Athlete who is showing signs, symptoms, behaviors of concussion
- Obtain Permission to Return to Play: An athlete can only return to play or practice after at least 24 hours and with permission from a health care professional
- Record and submit to Parks & Rec any concussions over the season
7. WHY IS DATA COLLECTION ESSENTIAL?
Only by collecting data can programs and policies be benchmarked and reviewed. All policy should be based on data.
8. HOW DO COACHES ACCESS FREE CDC ONLINE TRAINING?
- On the internet on the CDC website by using a computer, iPad or smart phone
- Complete the 30 minute online course created by the CDC – available in English or Spanish
9. PER THE CDC WEBSITE, WHICH ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORT THE CDC CONCUSSION TRAINING?
- US Lacrosse
- US Soccer
- USA Baseball
- USA Football
- USA Rugby
- USA Volleyball
- YMCA of the USA
- Amateur Athletic Union
- Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball
- American Academy of Neurology
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- American College of Sports Medicine
- American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
- American School Health Association
- American School Health Association
- American Sports Education Program
- Brain Injury Association of America
- Brain Trauma Foundation
- Center for Injury Research and Policy, the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
- Children’s National Medical Center
- Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
- Emergency Nurses Association
- Health Resources and Services Administration, EMS for Children
- Health Resources Services Administration, Traumatic Brain Injury Program
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health
- Matthew Alan Gfeller Sport-Related TBI
- Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Mayo Clinic
- MSU, Institute for the Study of Youth Sports
- National Academy of Neuropsychology
- National Alliance for Youth Sports
- National Association of School Nurses
- National Association of Secondary School Principals
- National Council for Youth Sports
- National Education Association
- National Education Association Health Information Network
- National Federation of State High School Associations
- National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association
- National Program for Playground Safety
- National Recreation and Park Association
- North American Brain Injury Society
- Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.
- President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
- Safe Kids Worldwide
- Safe States Alliance
- Sarah Jane Brain Foundation
- Society of State Directors of Health, Physical Education & Recreation
- Sports Legacy Institute
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Sports Medicine Concussion Program
10. HOW OFTEN SHOULD THE COACHES TRAINING COURSE BE TAKEN?
Due to the quick pace of coaches aging through youth sports teams, SPORTSCAPP.com recommends this test be taken on a yearly basis.
11. CAN THE COURSE BE TAKEN IN A GROUP SETTING RATHER THAN ON SOLO ON A COMPUTER OR SMART PHONE?
Yes, this is ideal way to train and since a live Q&A session can provide sports’ specific experience. Some local football and lacrosse teams have already provided this type of training. But the course can also be taken by an individual anywhere there is internet access and a computer, iPad or iPhone.
12. HOW CAN A CERTIFICATE BE GENERATED TO SHOW THE COACH TOOK THE COURSE?
- When the coach clicks on the course link, he/she will be asked to provide their full name before the course begin
- At the end of the course, the program will offer a certificate to print or download as a PDF or a palm card
- The certificate can then be printed and scanned then emailed to the team administrator. A PDF can simply be mailed
13. WHO SHOULD GET A COPY OF THE CERTIFICATE?
Documentation of the coach successfully completing the course should be:
- Kept by the coach accessible practices and games – saved on phone or paper
- Sent to the team or User Group or Organization and produced for verification of compliance by the Recreation Department prior to any permit or license being granted for the use of any City of Norwalk facility for each sport season
- There are plans which will be announced in the near future of a centralized registry
14. WHAT IS A FREE APP WHICH CAN INCREASE SAFETY FOR PLAYERS AND LOWER LIABILITY FOR COACHES?
This FREE SmartPhone App is recommend for coaches/parents to help a youth player with a possible head injury, and officially notify parents of the head injury based on the most current CDC information. With time and geo stamps on final report, the coach can officially emailed from the app to the parent, the manager and the team. The report records information which will be useful for the doctors and parents at a later time to judge RTP and guide a recovery plan.
- Why would this help kids? After a possible head injury, this app guides coaches and parents on how to assess the injury and how best to respond by providing current medical guidance on when to call 911 or if the child should be removed from play. The app also records information which will be useful for the doctors and parents at a later time to judge RTP and guide a recovery plan.
- Example of use: A youth sport athlete suffers a hit on the soccer field. The athlete is taken to the sideline, accessed with the app and the parent is emailed the information about the athlete with ACE care materials
- What is it? An app
- Who uses it? Coaches or parents
- When? At the first sign of any suspected head injury
- To do what? After a possible head injury, coach or parent are led through set of questions about the child’s current signs, symptoms and behavoirs. The user is given a set of conditions when to stop using the app and call 911, and if none of those conditions are met then to proceed to ask the athlete how he or she feels. The app records information which will be useful for the doctors creating a recovery plan. A summary of the answers to the question can be emailed to the parents with care instructions.
- How do I get this app? Download on it on your smart phone from the app store
- Who supplies the info? Coach or any adult
- Cost? Free
- Compliance? HIPPA and FERPA Compliant
- Liability issues? Decreases liability for coach and team. While it is always best to have an athletic trainer be the first responder to a possible concussion, this tool can direct a parent or volunteer coach to respond in a responsible way.
15. WHAT EDUCATION DO PARENTS AND ATHLETES NEED?
For coaches to be successful with concussion emergency plans, athletes and parents also need education on:
- Current practice in proper injury prevention techniques and skills
- The signs and symptoms of concussion = CDC Handouts – Links below
- The procedure for notifying parents when an athlete has been removed from play for a head injury or suspected concussion = PER EACH ORG’s RULES
16. WHAT CDC RESOURCES EXIST FOR PARENTS AND KIDS?
Information for Parents
- http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/coaches_Span.pdf – Optional Fact Sheet for Coaches
Information for Athletes
17. WHAT ARE BEST FREE VIDEOS TO EDUCATE STUDENTS, PARENTS AND COACHES?
VIDEO #1: Why you need to be educated? 4 min Powerful Video (Note: Click link and scroll down half-way down the article to play the video of Peter Robinson talking about his son) Recommended for high school athletes, coaches and parents. Parents, please watch first before showing to your children. Link: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/dec/13/death-of-a-schoolboy-ben-robinson-concussion-rugby-union
VIDEO #3: How best to recover after a concussion (but watch it now) - for kids, parents and coaches by Top Doctors Dr. Mike Evans and Dr. Gerry Gioia. Link: http://www.sportscapp.com/2014/08/28/best-concussion-video-of-2014-rtl/
18. IS THERE REALLY A LIABILITY RISK IN YOUTH SPORTS?
19. HOW DID U.S. YOUTH SOCCER AND FIFA RESPOND TO A LAWSUIT DEMANDING A BETTER CONCUSSION PLAN?
Here are some quotes from the Motion to Dismiss papers (attached below) from the current youth soccer lawsuit filed by FIFA, US Soccer, Defendant National Association of Competitive Soccer Clubs, Inc., d/b/a US Club Soccer (“USCS”), American Youth Soccer Organization (“AYSO”), California Youth Soccer Association, Inc.
- FIFA and all the others named stated they “lack direct contact with the players.” SHIFTING BLAME TO THE VOLUNTEER COACHES
- FIFA (and others) have no duty to make the game safer or to ameliorate risks inherent in the sport; their only duty is to not increase such risks. “ STATUS QUO IS LEGAL
- FIFA (and others) clearly state it “has no legal duty to Plaintiffs to prevent risks that are inherent in the sport, like those from heading a soccer ball.” YOU KNEW THE RISKS FOR YOUR CHILD.
- US Soccer clearly states, “Legislature in each of those states has specifically addressed the issue of concussion management for youth sports, and none has imposed such obligations on an organization like US Soccer. Rather, like the Consensus Statement, the focus of the various state concussion laws is on educating and assigning responsibility to those individuals who have direct contact with the players to prevent a child suspected of having suffered a concussion from returning to play without first obtaining clearance from the child’s medical provider.”
Please open and read these papers:
- 150130 44 FIFA.MotionDismiss
- 150130 53 USSF.MotionDismiss
- 150130 56 AYSO.MotionDismiss
- 150130 55 NACSC.MotionDismiss
- 150130 48 CYSA.MotionDismiss
20. IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE TO INCREASE SAFETY AND LOWER LIABILITY?
Yes, and please contact me if you have any doubts or questions.
There are also low cost smart phone apps to manage injury reporting and make parents email/children’s emergency information accessible to coaches on the field. Please contact me for more info. I have no financial ties with any of these companies.