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When In Doubt, Sit ‘Em Out

On July 1, 2012, the Nebraska Concussion Awareness Act became law.  All public, private and parochial schools as well as all organized youth sports sponsored by villages, cities, businesses or non-profit organizations for children ages 19 and under are now required to offer training regarding concussions to coaches.

Under the law, an athlete showing signs or symptoms of a concussion, thereby being “reasonably suspected” of having had a concussion, must be removed from participation and may not return until evaluated by a licensed health care professional.

The law has three requirements: 

1. Education:  all coaches, youth athletes and their parent or guardian must be provided with education about the risks and symptoms of a concussion and how to seek proper medical attention.

2.  Removal from Play:  Under any reasonable suspicion of concussion, coaches will remove youth athletes from play.

3.  Return to Play:  Youth athletes will not be allowed to return to play including games, scrimmages, and practices of any kind, until written approval from an appropriate licensed health care professional AND the youth’s parent or guardian is obtained.  Licensed health care professional may be a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, nurse, athletic trainer, neuropsychologist, or any licensed health care worker in Nebraska who is specifically trained in pediatric traumatic brain injury.

You can’t see a concussion, but you might notice one or more of the symptoms below or that you or someone else “doesn’t feel right” soon after, a few days after, or even weeks after the injury.

What are the symptoms of a concussion? 

  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance or blurry vision
  • Bothered by light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Confusion

What should I do if I think I have a concussion?

  • Tell your coach(es), athletic trainers, parents and medical personnel.  Never ignore a bump or blow to the head even if you feel fine.  Also, tell your coach right away if you think you have a concussion or if one of your teammates might have a concussion.
  • Get a medical check-up.  A doctor or other health care professional can tell if you have a concussion and when it is okay to return to play.
  • Give yourself time to get better.  If you have a concussion, your brain needs time to heal.  While your brain is still healing, you are much more likely to have another concussion.  Repeated concussions can increase the time it takes for you to recover and may cause more damage to your brain (second impact syndrome).  It is important to rest and not return to play until you get the okay from your health care professional that you are symptom-free.

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