Concussion GuidELINES.

Concussion is a temporary injury to the brain caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. The length of time the injury lasts can vary, although it sometimes needs emergency treatment and some people can have longer-lasting problems. Concussions need to be taken extremely seriously within the confines of basketball. 

Children and adolescents (under 19) are more vulnerable to concussion than adults and should be managed more conservatively. Children and adolescents are more susceptible to concussion, take longer to recover and are more significantly impacted with memory and mental processing. 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Being able to identify and recognise the signs and symptoms of a potential concussion are vitally important. Whether you are a table official, spectator, coach, team manager or referee, timely identification and intervention can massively help in getting immediate treatment to someone as soon as possible. Visible signs of potential concussion include but are not limited to any one or more of the following:

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Mental clouding, confusion, or feeling slowed down

  • Visual problems

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Drowsiness / feeling like “in a fog“ / difficulty concentrating

  • “Pressure in head”

  • Sensitivity to light or noise

  • Dazed, blank or vacant look

  • Lying motionless on ground / slow to get up

  • Unsteady on feet / balance problems or falling over / incoordination

  • Loss of consciousness or responsiveness

  • Confused / not aware of plays or events

  • Grabbing / clutching of head

  • Convulsion (seizure)

  • More emotional / irritable

If you are worried about an individual who may be showing these symptoms you should make sure that player is recognised with either their physio, coach or lead referee to ensure that they can be removed.  If there are any doubts, such as you "don't think it's too bad an injury" or "they are faking it", you should never take the risk and remember the following statement:

IF IN DOUBT, SIT THEM OUT.

A player with signs or symptoms of concussion should be removed from court. If there are concerns around further injuries to the neck and spine, the player should not be moved until the emergency services arrive to prevent any further injury. It is recognised that there may be situations where a medical practitioner or approved health care professional is not present when injury occurs. Clubs and organisations are strongly encouraged to educate their staff (coaches, team managers etc.) on the signs and symptoms of concussions so that appropriate action can be taken when needed and medical support sought immediately.

RECOVERY AND RETURN TO PLAY

Recovery from concussion should be considered on an individual basis. The majority of concussion injuries resolve
over a 7-10 day period, although this can be longer in children and adolescents (under 19). Players need to be encouraged not to ignore symptoms and to be honest with themselves, medical practitioners and coaching staff.

The risks associated with early return to play include:

  • a second concussion due to increased risk (second impact)

  • an increased risk of other injuries because of poor decision making or reduced reaction time associated with a concussion

  • reduced performance

  • serious injury or death due to an unidentified structural brain injury

  • a potential increased risk of developing long-term neurological deterioration

A clinical judgement decision from a medical practitioner or designated approved healthcare practitioner (with recognised experience and training in managing concussion) must have the final decision about when a player should return to play. If they do not approve return to play, a player should not do so or be convinced to do so by another party.  As a process, remember the six Rs:

Recognise – Remove – Refer – Rest – Recover – Return.

More information on recognising concussion symptoms, managing concussion and return to play can be found in Concussion Guidelines for Basketball in Great Britain 2016

If you would like further information, please contact andy.howse@basketballengland.co.uk