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Return To Play

Concussion in Sports

Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity. So, all coaches, parents, and athletes need to learn concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion occurs.

Fast Facts:

  • A concussion is a brain injury and all are serious.
  • Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
  • Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death.

What is a Concussion?

  • A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.
  • Georgia’s Return-To-Play law passed during the 2013 Legislative session and was signed by Governor Nathan Deal on April 23, 2013.  The bill, aimed at protecting the state’s youth from concussion-related injuries, becomes effective January 1, 2014.  Georgia joins 43 other states that have passed similar legislation.

 

Components of Georgia’s Return-To-Play law

Age: youth athletes 7 years of age to under 19 years of age

For:  Boards of Education, Administrators of Non-public Schools, and Governing bodies of Charter Schools.

  • 20-2-324.1(b) - adopt and implement a concussion management and return to play policy that contains:
    1. before each athletic season , provide to all youth athletes’ parents or legal guardian an information sheet  that informs them about the nature and risk of concussion and head  injury;
    2. if a youth athlete participating in a youth athletic activity exhibits symptoms of having a concussion, that athlete will be removed from the activity and be evaluated by a health care provider; and
    3. if the youth athlete is diagnosed with a concussion by the health care provider, the coach or other designated personnel will not allow the youth athlete to return to practice/play until the youth athlete receives clearance from a health care provider for a graduated or full return to play.

For:   Youth Sports Leagues / Associations/ Organizations:

  • 20-2-324.1 (c) -  At registration for a youth athletic activity, provide to all youth athletes’ parents or legal guardian an information sheet that informs them about the nature and risk of concussion and head injury.  These organizations are also strongly encouraged to establish and implement a concussion management and return to play policy.

Recent Research

  • Concussions from Youth Football: Results from NEISS Hospitals Over An 11-Yr.  Time Frame 2002-2012. Orthapedic Journal of Sports Medicine, December 2013
  • Children’s Safety Network (CSN) – Youth Sports Concussion, Research Articles (July 2015)
  • Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) – Research - (July 2015) SLI was founded in 2007 with the goal of supporting Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) research. SLI founders Chris Nowinski and Dr. Cantu began acquiring the brains of former athletes after death for research to learn about the long-term consequences of repetitive trauma.
  •  Sports-related concussions and traumatic brain injuries: Research roundup (October 2014) 
  • Concussion at Play: Opportunities to Reshape the Culture Around Concussion from the CDC (August 2015)– This new report provides a snapshot on the current concussion research pertaining to knowledge, awareness, attitudes and behaviors. This report also describes opportunities to help build a culture in sports where athletes take steps to: lower their chances of getting a concussion, recognize concussion symptoms, and report concussion symptoms. This involves moving beyond our general concussion knowledge and changing the way we talk about and respond to concussion. This will empower athletes to not play with a concussion or hide their symptoms. While research is ongoing to help identify the best approach to changing the culture of concussion in sports, there are action steps that coaches, parents, health care providers, and school professionals can take now to help keep young athletes safe and supported as they pursue the sports they love to play.
 

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

If the sports team is a member of a sports related association refer to their policies or by-laws for Concussion Management / Return-To-Play requirements  which may be different from the Georgia Law. 

 

RESOURCES:

Concussion Policy:

 

Information  Sheets:

 

Training endorsed by Georgia Department of Public Health

Coaches – Schools and Youth Leagues

  • National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
  • CDC Heads Up Concussion in Youth Sports for Coaches (FREE, on-line)
  • National Alliance for Youth Sports

    Free Concussion Training program. This program is designed to provide you with valuable information on concussions and add to what coaches, parents and administrators should know regarding concussion safety. Concussion awareness and prevention is an important issue in youth sports today as it affects the health and well-being of children participating in all sports, and at all levels.  (June 2015)

Healthcare Professionals

Parent Information

 

 

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Contact Information:

Carol Ball | 404-651-7021 | carol.ball@dph.ga.gov