In most situations, coaches are the only staff member available at all interscholastic and youth practices and competitions. Research shows that over 50% of schools in the United States do not employ a certified athletic trainer. It is important for coaches to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of concussions in order to take the appropriate action when an athlete suffers a head injury.
Many sports medicine professionals suggest that those coaches who do not have immediate access to an athletic trainer use easy and reliable screening tools. One of the most effective screening tools is the King-Devick test. Personally, I recommend every high school and youth coach to use this screening tool. It is very easy to learn and does not require a medical professional to administer. The King-Devick test can be easily implemented into an existing concussion management protocol.
Here are some tips for coaches in the area of sport-related concussions:
Tips for Coaches
- Remove any student-athlete who is experiencing signs and symptoms of a head injury from competition.
- Contact a health care professional for assistance and advice.
- Inform the parent/guardian of the need for evaluation by their medical provider
- Provide parents/guardians with written education materials on concussions.
- Inform the athletic director, school nurse, and appropriate school officials of the student’s potential concussion. This is necessary to ensure that the student does not engage in activities at school that may worsen symptoms.
- Ensure that the students diagnosed with a concussion do not participate in any athletic activities until cleared by a medical doctor.