According to US Lacrosse guidelines, an under-19 concussion management plan should include these five steps:
1. Preseason Education
Because lacrosse is full of contact, parents, players and coaches benefit from becoming educated even before the season starts. This should include signs and symptoms, possible prevention, treatment and return to play guidelines. To improve concussion management, make sure players wear approved and properly-fitted protective lacrosse equipment.
2. Pre-season Baseline Testing
A pre-season baseline testing is a physical examination, including a review of a lacrosse players’ prior injuries and previously existing medical conditions.
Concussions will occur in the game of lacrosse, because no one technique or safety equipment can be 100 percent effective. If a concussion is suspected, coaches should remove the athlete from play and have them evaluated by a health care professional. Most lacrosse players recover quickly and fully. When in doubt, sit a player out.
4. Referral to Emergency Department
In case it may be necessary, lacrosse teams and leagues should have an Emergency Action Plan in place for all games and practices. If an athlete experiences any major symptoms of a concussion, including loss of consciousness or decreasing neurological function, they should receive medical attention at once.
5. Return to Physical Activity
If a lacrosse player receives a concussion, their brain needs time to heal. Experts recommend lacrosse players who experience any of the signs and symptoms of a concussion refrain from playing the day of injury and until a health care professional deems they are fit to return to action.
Signs a Lacrosse Players Has Been Concussed
- Athlete appears dazed or stunned
- Balance or dizziness
- Unsure of game, score or opponent
- Blurry or double vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- A loss of consciousness (even briefly)
- Difficulty recalling events before or after hit or fall
- Nausea or vomiting
How to Return to Play After a Head Injury
US Lacrosse recommends a seven-step progression for returning to play and school after a concussion.
- Return to school and/or daily non-athletic activities
- Aerobic exercise
- Lacrosse training, such as catching and throwing
- Non-contact drills, like line drills
- Controlled full contact activity, including scrimmages
- Full return to play
Since lacrosse is at its heart a full-contact sport, it’s crucial to implement a concussion management plan to protect players’ safety.