Concussion Policy

When in Doubt, Sit Them Out

The Fox River Bandits are committed to maintaining a concussion awareness and safety program, including, but not limited to, the online Concussion Course offered by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal function of the brain. All concussions are brain injuries. A concussion is most commonly caused by a direct blow to the head, but can also be caused by a blow to the body. Even what appears to be a mild blow to the head or body can result in a concussion. It is important to know that loss of consciousness is not required to have a concussion. In fact, less than 10% of athletes lose consciousness.

Signs and Symptoms

These are some SIGNS of a concussion (what others can see in an injured athlete):

  • Dazed or stunned appearance

  • Change in the level of consciousness or awareness

  • Confused about assignment

  • Forgets plays

  • Unsure of score, game, opponent

  • Clumsy

  • Answers more slowly than usual

  • Shows behavior changes

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Asks repetitive questions or memory concerns

Concussion SYMPTOMS are often categorized into four main areas:

  1. Physical – This describes how they feel: headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, tired and loss of consciousness (which is uncommon in concussion). Vision and balance problems are also recognized as potential signs and symptoms of a concussion

  2. Thinking – Poor memory and concentration, responds to questions more slowly and asks repetitive questions. Concussion can cause an altered state of awareness and thinking

  3. Emotions – A concussion can make a person more irritable or sad and cause mood swings

  4. Sleep – Concussions frequently cause trouble falling asleep and may wake athletes up overnight, which can make them more fatigued throughout the day

Injured athletes can exhibit many or just a few of the signs and/or symptoms of concussion. However, if a player exhibits any signs or symptoms of concussion, the responsibility is simple: remove them from participation. An athlete should never return to play on the same day. “When in doubt sit them out.”

Return to Play

In order to resume activity, the athlete must be symptom free and off any pain control or headache medications that they were not taking prior to the concussion.

While we believe it is the parents decision, in consultation with their medical professional when their child is ready to return to play, we also believe in erring on the side of caution.

We allow for the parents and their medical professional to decide what is best for their athlete but recommend they follow the WIAA guidelines for returning to play.

The WIAA program described below is a guideline for returning concussed athletes when they are symptom free. Athletes with multiple concussions and athletes with prolonged symptoms often require a prolonged or different return to activity program and should be managed by a physician that has experience in treating concussion.

The following program allows for one step per 24 hours. The program allows for a gradual increase in heart rate/physical exertion, coordination, and then allows contact. If symptoms return, the athlete should stop activity and notify their healthcare provider before progressing to the next level.

STAGE ONE: Daily activities that do not increase symptoms (gradual reintroduction of school, work and walking).

STAGE TWO: Light aerobic exercise: slow to medium pace jogging, stationary cycling. No resistance training. This allows for increased heart rate.

STAGE THREE: Sport-specific exercise: moderate to higher intensity running or skating drills, but no activities with risk of head impact. This allows for increased heart rate and agility/movement.

STAGE FOUR: Non-contact training: Higher intensity aerobic fitness, and non-contact/non-collision team training drills (e.g., passing drills). May begin progressive resistance training. This increases coordination and thinking during sport.

STAGE FIVE: Full contact practice. Following medical clearance, participate fully in normal training activities. This restores confidence and allows coaches to assess functional skills.

STAGE SIX: Full clearance / Normal game play.