Effective September 1, 2011, M.S. 121A.37 requires that “any municipality, business, or nonprofit organization that organizes a youth (ages 18 and under) athletic activity for which an activity fee is charged, shall:
           “(1) make information accessible to all participating coaches, officials, and youth athletes and their parents or guardians about the nature and risks of concussions, including the effects and risks of continuing to play after receiving a concussion . . .. All information must be in keeping with protocols and content consistent with the current medical knowledge available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
           “(2) require all participating coaches and officials to receive initial online training and online training at least once every three years thereafter. All online training must be consistent with the program, Concussion in Youth Sports, online training program on the CDC’s website.”
           Coaches and officials using the CDC’s online training tool can print a certificate demonstrating that they have completed the course. MSBA staff suggest that school districts retain copies of the materials provided to parents, guardians, and participants as well as the certificates earned by officials and paid and volunteer coaches. School districts may find the CDC’s free training tools and information for parents, guardians, and participants very helpful in meeting the requirements of this new law.
           In addition to the training requirements already addressed, a coach or official must remove a youth athlete from activities when he/she is suspected of sustaining a concussion or exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion. Youth athletes who are ruled ineligible to participate in an activity by a coach or official may not return to that activity until given written permission to do so by a trained and experienced provider who has evaluated him/her.
           School districts, coaches, and officials wishing to implement a concussion plan should review the Minnesota State High School League and CDC websites.
           The new law can be found at www.revisor.mn.gov under “Laws, 2011 Regular Session, Chapter 90.”

    Heads Up Online Training Course

    Get prepared for the new season in less than 30 minutes

    Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports is a free, online course available to coaches, parents, and others helping to keep athletes safe from concussion. It features interviews with leading experts, dynamic graphics and interactive exercises, and compelling storytelling to help you recognize a concussion and know how to respond if you think that your athlete might have a concussion. Once you complete the training and quiz, you can print out a certificate, making it easy to show your league or school you are ready for the season. 

    CDC Concussion Training Link (click to watch video)

    What Should I do If a Concussion Occurs?

    If you suspect that an athlete has a concussion, implement your 4-step action plan:

    1. Remove the athlete from play. Look for signs and symptoms of a concussion if your athlete has experienced a bump or blow to the head or body. When in doubt, keep the athlete out of play.
    2. Ensure that the athlete is evaluated by a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion. Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Health care professionals have a number of methods that they can use to assess the severity of concussions. As a coach, recording the following information can help health care professionals in assessing the athlete after the injury:

      soccer player

      • Cause of the injury and force of the hit or blow to the head or body
      • Any loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out) and if so, for how long
      • Any memory loss immediately following the injury
      • Any seizures immediately following the injury
      • Number of previous concussions (if any) 

    3. Inform the athlete’s parents or guardians about the possible concussion and give them the fact sheet on concussion. Make sure they know that the athlete should be seen by a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion.
    4. Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first—usually within a short period of time (hours, days, or weeks)—can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems. In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in edema (brain swelling), permanent brain damage, and even death.
    Additional procedures regarding a concussion:
    * Staff member and / or coach fill out an accident report and notify the office in the event of a concussion.
    * Parent notify the office in the event of a concussion during and / or after the school day.
    * Take athlete and / or student to health care provider for evaluation and symptom management.
    * Only a healthcare provider can clear an athlete and / or student to resume activity.

    FAQs about Baseline Testing among Young Athletes >>

    Return to play protocol
    During the recovery period in the first few days after an injury, it is important to emphasize to the athlete that physical and cognitive rest is required. Activities that require concentration and attention may exacerbate the symptoms as as a result delay recovery.
    The return to play after a concussion follows a stepwise process:
    1. No activity, complete rest until all symptoms have resolved. Once asymptomatic, proceed to level
    2. Light aerobic exercise such as walking or stationary cycling, no resistance training.
    3. Sport specific exercise - for example, skating in hockey, running in soccer; progressive addition of resistance training at steps 3 or 4.
    4. Non-contact training drills.
    5. Full contact training after medical clearance.
    6. Game play.
    With this stepwise progression, the athlete should continue to proceed to the next level if asymptomatic at the current level. If any post-concussion symptoms occur, the patient should drop back to the previous asymptomatic level and try to progress again after 24 hours.