Recently, the state of Maryland passed a law (General Code 14-501) which requires children under 18 who have suffered a head injury while playing on a state or county field be removed from play for evaluation. In order to return to play, they must obtain written clearance from a licensed healthcare provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury or trauma caused by a hit or blow to the head. Concussions can range from mild to severe and can occur even if the athlete doesn't lose consciousness. If untreated, concussions in youth athletes can change the way their brain works and can lead to long-term developmental problems including permanent brain damage.
Symptoms and Signs of a possible concussion in youth players:
Blurry, fuzzy, or double vision
Sensitivity to light and/or noise
Concentration problems or memory lose
Balance and dexterity problems or dizziness
Vomiting or weak stomach
Recommended Return to Play Procedures/Tips:
If a player is suspected of having a concussion, they NEED to seek medical attention immediately.
Youth participants should be kept out of all athletic activities (including practice) when a concussion is suspected/diagnosed. While the brain is healing from a trauma, athletes are significantly more likely to receive a second concussion if they begin athletic activity too soon.
Keep possibly concussed athletes away from any cognitive activities that require concentration or intense focus. Activities such as video games, computer work, cell phone games, lengthy TV watching, should be all avoided.
Do not give any medication to an athlete who is suspected of having a concussion unless it was previously prescribed or authorized by a physician after the trauma.
The State of Maryland, US Youth Soccer, and MSYSA mandate that no youth athlete be permitted to return to competition (games or practice) until they are cleared by a physician.