ConCUSSION / SUDDEN CARDIAC
A concussion is a brain injury and all brain injuries are serious. They are caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or by a blow to another part of the body with the force transmitted to the head. The brain basically hits the front, back and/or sides of the skull which causes injury. These are not structural or tearing injuries which is why MRI and CT scans are not particularly helpful. You can’t see a concussion and most sports concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
Concussions range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. They affect the cognitive centers of the brain, primarily memory and reaction time. Even though most concussions are mild, all concussions are potentially serious and may result in complications including prolonged brain damage and death if not recognized and managed properly. In other words, even a “ding” or a bump on the head can be serious. The risk of catastrophic injury, or death, resulting from a concussion or brain injury is significantly increased if not properly evaluated and managed.
Athletic Directors have responsibility to ensure there is a plan in place to care for all athletes suspected of suffering a concussion. Reviewing school or district policy will help provide an athletic director with necessary information to develop a comprehensive plan.
Athletic directors must also acquaint themselves with the WIAA requirements for concussion training for all coaches to ensure their compliance and maintain athlete safety.