recent years there have been far too many players suffering from head
injuries in minor hockey. We all know that this is a rough and physical
sport where players are going to get their ‘bells rung’ occasionally,
but it is imperative that we try to enforce the fact that players
must start to respect each other and if they are not going to show this
respect, then they will be punished by the referees and the league.
CONCUSSION – A VERY SERIOUS INJURY
injuries usually consist of a concussion to some degree. While we will not pretend to be
medical experts, we would like to give you some facts about concussions
that may help you better understand why it is important
to reduce the incidence of head injuries in hockey.
A concussion is best described as a change in mental
status which is the result of some movement of the brain as a result of a blow
or jolt to the head. This movement causes changes in the brain cells and
generally results in the individual experiencing feelings of
disorientation, difficulty with vision and possibly impaired coordination. It is
important to note that a person does not have to lose consciousness in
order to suffer a concussion.
When determining the severity of a concussion, it is
customary to categorize the injury by the length of time the symptoms
The first category, which is referred to as a simple,
first degree or Grade One concussion, depending on which guideline you
use, results from a blow to the head or a whiplash. In this case, there is
no loss of consciousness and symptoms usually last no longer than 15
minutes, but in any event, there is usually complete recovery within 24 hours. The
person may be a bit dazed or confused immediately after the incident, but
improvement is quite rapid and there is usually no
The second category of concussion, referred to as a
complex, second degree or Grade Two or Three concussion, usually follows a
brief loss of consciousness. Symptoms in this case usually last longer
than fifteen minutes, or will return with physical exercise and exertion. Often,
in the case of a
complex concussion, the person has no recollection of the incident causing
the injury. The
first time a person experiences a complex concussion, the symptoms will
generally disappear within a week. A person who experiences
a complex concussion should see a doctor as soon as possible.
|IMPLICATIONS FOR COACHES AND TRAINERS
A hockey coach should never allow a player who has
experienced a complex concussion to return to practice or games without
the approval of his doctor.
The coach should not even allow a player to
return to the ice for at least 24 hours if it is suspected that he has suffered
even a simple concussion.
Therefore, after any blow to the head, it is
imperative that the trainer do an immediate examination to determine if
there is any symptom present which would suggest a concussion. If there is
the slightest sign of a concussion, the trainer must refuse to allow the
player back on to the ice.
Even though a person who has suffered a mild
concussion may appear fine within a few minutes after the blow, studies
have shown that it still takes about 24 hours to fully regain his normal
mental functioning abilities. It takes at least a full week to recover
from a complex concussion.
If a player returns to the ice too soon, he is
risking what is referred to as "Second Impact Syndrome". If he
suffers a second concussion during this critical recovery period, his
symptoms may last for months. It is even possible that death will occur.
Studies have also shown that in some cases, even with
simple concussions, symptoms may last well beyond seven days due to the
fact that the biochemical changes that occurred in the brain cells during
the initial blow do not get corrected. This is referred to as "Post
Concussion Syndrome" and, while rare, it is possible in contact
sports such as hockey.
The symptoms of post concussion syndrome generally
result in physical complaints such as headache,
dizziness/balance, fatigue, problems with vision, sensitivity to noise or
light, or problems with sleep. PCS can also result in behavioural changes
such as moodiness
(depression), irritability (anger), or an inability to sit still. Finally,
PCS is know to trigger mental problems which lead to difficulty thinking
or solving simple problems.
While a person with Post Concussion Syndrome may
exhibit any number of the above symptoms, it is more likely that they will
appear when the player attempts to return to action on the ice or take
part in some strenuous activity.
To emphasize the importance of giving a person proper
treatment if a suspected concussion has occured, consider some of the
|SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS THAT TRAINERS MUST LOOK FOR
a player receives a check to the head area, coaches and trainers should be
on the lookout for signs and symptoms of concussion. These may include:
severe headache, dizziness, vomiting, increased size of one pupil or
sudden weakness in an arm or leg. People
who have received even a mild concussion may seem agitated or irritable
and are often very restless. These
people may also experience some memory loss or seem forgetful.
best way to treat a person who you think has suffered a concussion is to
observe his states of consciousness. If
he seems to be ‘out of it’ every once and a while, then have him see a
doctor for closer observation. Surgery is usually not necessary for
concussions unless there is massive damage or swelling to the brain.
Injuries of this extent are usually associated with car accidents and are
not very common in hockey-inflicted concussions.
from a concussion is a slow process during which time a person may suffer
from post-concussion syndromes such as, dizziness, irritability,
uncontrollable emotions, and depression, just to name a few.
The best treatment for a concussion is to rest the patient and to
have him avoid any activities that may cause further injury or jarring to
the brain, such as playing in another hockey game.
rule of thumb is that a player should be symptom free for at least seven
days before returning from a complex concussion.
THE PARENT AT ONCE:
and trainers must always inform the parents when a player has been hit in
the head and seems to be exhibiting signs of a possible concussion. In
many situations, the parent may not have even seen the infraction.
first indication of a possible concussion may simply be a comment made by
a player while on the bench. Above all, if a player complains about a
headache or says he is a bit dizzy, do not send him back out on the ice.
This is the same as sending a boxer back into the ring when he is slightly
dazed. If the hockey player is a bit unfocussed, he is vulnerable to a
further hit that may push him over the limit, and instead of a mild
concussion, he may end up with a severe one.
the game, make sure you let the parent know that the child should be
watched closely for the next few hours. Any vomiting or dizziness should
be taken very seriously. You can never be too careful when it comes to