Concussion Protocol

Concussion Protocol
Freetown-Lakeville Warriors Swimming (FLWS)

When in Doubt, Sit Them Out!

A coach, or official involved in a youth athletic activity, or health care provider shall remove a person from the youth athletic activity if the coach, official, or health care provider determines that the person exhibits signs, symptoms, or behavior consistent with a concussion or head injury or the coach, official, or health care provider suspects the person has sustained a concussion or head injury.

A person who has been removed from a youth athletic activity may not participate in a youth athletic activity until he or she is evaluated by a health care provider and receives a written clearance to participate in the activity from the health care provider.

These are some SIGNS concussions (what others can see in an injured athlete): 

  • Dazed or stunned appearance
  • Change in the level of consciousness or awareness
  • Confused about assignment
  • Forgets plays Unsure of score, game, opponent
  • Clumsy Answers more slowly than usual
  • Shows behavior changes Loss of consciousness
  • Asks repetitive questions or memory concerns.

These are some of the more common SYMPTOMS of concussion (what an injured athlete feels): 

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizzy or unsteady
  • Sensitive to light or noise
  • Feeling mentally foggy
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Confused Slow. 

Injured athletes can exhibit many or just a few of the signs and/or symptoms of concussion. However, if a player exhibits any signs or symptoms of concussion, the responsibility is simple: remove them from participation. “When in doubt sit them out.” It is important to notify a parent or guardian when an athlete is thought to have a concussion. Any athlete with a concussion must be seen by an appropriate health care provider before returning to practice (including weight lifting) or competition.

Current recommendations are for a stepwise return to play program. In order to resume activity, the athlete must be symptom free and off any pain control or headache medications. The athlete should be carrying a full academic load without any significant accommodations.

Finally, the athlete must have clearance from an appropriate health care provider. The program described below is a guideline for returning concussed athletes when they are symptom free. Athletes with multiple concussions and athletes with prolonged symptoms often require a very different return to activity program and should be managed by a physician that has experience in treating concussion.

The following program allows for one step per 24 hours. The program allows for a gradual increase in heart rate/physical exertion, coordination, and then allows contact. If symptoms return, the athlete should stop activity and notify their healthcare provider before progressing to the next level.

STEP ONE:  About 15 minutes of light exercise: kicking with head out of water, stationary biking, or jogging.

STEP TWO:  More strenuous kicking  and introduce face in the water easy swimming in the pool.

STEP THREE:  Begin moderately strenuous sets in the water. May also resume weight lifting/dryland.

STEP FOUR:  Resume full practices.

STEP FIVE:  Full competition clearance. 

USA Swimming Concussion Information Sheet