It is a priority for the City of Ottawa Ringette Association (CORA) to safely manage a player who has received an injury that has resulted in a concussion, whether during CORA activities or when the player is engaged in other activities, including school.
This letter is to make you aware of CORA’s Concussion and Return to Play Policy which is designed to ensure a decision making process for the player’s return to play that is transparent and easy to understand. The emphasis will always be on making the decision with the player’s health and well-being as the number one priority. No player will be permitted to return to play before they have fully recovered from an injury, been cleared by the appropriate health care practitioner, and provided the team trainer with a completed Return to Play form.
This brief letter is inform about the CORA policy, with which we ask that you familiarize yourself with prior to the beginning of the season, but also to familiarize you with the signs and symptoms of concussion.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury – there is no such thing as a minor brain injury. A player does not have to lose consciousness to have a concussion. In fact, less than 10% of players will actually lose consciousness but may still suffer a life-altering brain injury.
Research suggests that approximately 50% of concussions and head injuries are under-reported; parents and players are concealing symptoms or failing to recognize and report a potential injury, which has potential huge implications for our young athletes. We need to always protect the brain so our athletes can continue to excel athletically, academically, mentally, socially and emotionally.
As you may know, a concussion can result from a blow to a head, neck or body. Concussions often occur to players who do not have or have just released the ring and from unanticipated hits and falls. The youth players’ brain is more susceptible to concussion. In addition, the concussion in a young athlete may be harder to diagnose, take longer to recover than an adult, and is more likely to have a recurrence and be associated with serious long-term effects.
Signs and Symptoms of Concussion
As we are about to enter the heart of the winter sports season, we wanted to reiterate the signs and symptoms of a concussion that everyone involved in an athlete’s life should look out for:
- Head ache, nausea
- Poor balance, dizziness
- Double vision, blurred vision
- Poor concentration
- Light and/or noise sensitivity
- Sluggish, foggy, confusion, appears dazed or stunned
- Confused about assignments, moves clumsily, answers slowly
- Behaviour or personality changes
- Cannot recall events before/after the injury
Further to the CORA Concussion Policy, if a concussion is suspected, trainers shall use the following assessment tools: the Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool.
It is essential that coaches and parents work as allies to ensure that a player who may have a concussion not play. We ask that you please speak up if your child appears “off” and seek the appropriate medical attention for your child.
The old saying “better safe than sorry” could not be more apt and we ask that you take a moment to familiarize yourself with the Concussion and Return to Play Policy.
We welcome any comments or questions you may have, but otherwise ask that you please respect that the Concussion and Return to Play Policy will be strictly enforced to safeguard all of our players.
Wishing everyone a safe and fun 2016-2017 ringette season!
Yours in good health,
CORA Risk and Safety Co-ordinator