As long as there are sports, there will be concussions. We cannot eliminate concussions from sports, but we can reduce the risk as much as possible.
Coaches are in a unique position to recognize concussions and to prevent repeat injury.
Concussion prevention tips
- Be able to recognize symptoms and know what to do when you suspect a concussion.
- Remove an athlete from play immediately if a concussion is suspected. This is the first and most critical step in the recovery process.
- Get coaches, parents and athletes on the same page about concussions. Education is the key to protecting our student athletes from longer-term consequences of concussions.
- Promote a culture where athletes can recognize concussion symptoms and feel comfortable reporting them to you.
- Focus your sports programs for 6- to 12-year-olds on honing agility, eye-hand coordination and general conditioning. These skills are best developed between ages 6 and 12 and can prepare children to become competitive in high school and college.
- Delay full-contact play, such as deliberate hitting, until later in adolescence. High school-age athletes are better equipped cognitively to learn proper techniques to help protect themselves and others from unnecessary injury-causing impacts, such as tackling in football or checking in ice hockey.
- Ensure that proper technique is taught to youth athletes. Getting the right information and using the right teaching methods can also reduce the risk of concussions for your athletes.
- Do not use old or out-of-date equipment. Make sure your youth athletic league’s equipment is functional and safe.
- Do not rely on equipment to prevent concussions. While equipment manufacturers and researchers are working hard to find new technology that may someday prevent concussions, to date, there is no equipment that has demonstrated it can prevent concussions. Helmets and mouth guards can prevent other injuries like skull fractures and dental injuries, but not concussions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information for specific professions that provide support to youth affected by concussion: