"He just got his bell rung!" "I'll be back after I clear my head!" "Where am I?"
You may have heard some body say something like this on a football field or a soccer pitch. The attitude in sports used to be that athletes needed to get back in the game as soon as possible after a blow to the head. Athletes might sit out after breaking an arm in a game but they certainly would go right back in after "seeing stars". Today we know that blows to the head may be even more serious than broken bones since they can result in traumatic brain injury -- a concussion.
The New York State Education Department has mandated that all schools in New York State have a concussion management policy in place for the 2012-2013 school year. The policy must spell out who is responsible for identifying athletes who may have been concussed, how they will be cleared to return to play and how their recovery will be monitored. All coaches must be certified in a program that emphasizes recognition of concussions. The Liberty Central School District has developed their policy with the help of Dr. Nicholas Belasco, the only ImPact certified physician in the Hudson Valley region. Liberty has formed a Concussion Management team that will help to implement and oversee the policy.
Many organizations have made a host of resources available to schools, coaches, athletes and parents concerning the recognition and treatment of concussions. No organization has done more then the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC has classified concussions as an epidemic and has dedicated many of its resources toward research and education. There is a lot of information and, at times, it can seem overwhelming and confusing.
Whether you are a coach, an athlete, a teacher or a parent, you should know that a blow to the head can cause a serious injury and all such blows should be reported. "Business as usual" cannot be the theme from this point on. Everybody must get informed and stay updated to allow our athletes to be safe.