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BMSA Concusion Policy, Codes of Conduct & Concussion Protocols

Belmont Minor Soccer  is committed to maintaining an environment in which the safety and well-being of all parties is a priority 

This includes the use and enforcement of the following with the intention of avoiding and/or minimizing concussions while playing sport:

  • A zero-tolerance policy for prohibited play at all levels that is considered high risk for causing concussions
  • The Athlete and Parent or Guardian of Athletes Under 18 years of age and the Coach and Team Trainer Codes of Conduct.
  • The Removal-from-Sport and a Return-to-Sport Protocol as well as other measures as laid out in the Canada Soccer Guide to Safety.

A)  BMSA Policy for Heading

  1. Athletes 10 and under 
  • No player shall head the ball in practices or games
  • Coaches of athletes 10 and under shall be educated during training clinics about the risks of concussion associated with heading the ball.
  • Coaches of athletes 10 and under will not to allow players to head the ball in practices or games.
  • Match officials will stop play.
  1. The consequences for any athlete that demonstrates dangerous or high risk behaviour for causing concussion will be the following:
  • First offense - An immediate removed from a practice or a game for a verbal warning of his actions by the coach or match official.  Once this has occurred the player may return to the field of play at the coach’s discretion.
  • Second offense – The player will be removed from the practice or the game for the remainder of time left for that session.
  • Third offense – The player will be prohibited to practice or play games for a period of 2 weeks.
  • Recurring offenses – The player will be removed from the league and will not be eligible for a refund.

B)  Codes of Conduct

The following are the BMSA codes of conduct required for:

  • Athletes and parents or guardians of athletes under 18 years of age AND
  • Coaches and team trainers.  

These codes of conduct must be read, understood and signed off during the player and volunteer registration process.  This is a mandatory requirement of the Rowan's Law legislation.

  1. Athletes and Parents or Guardians of Athletes Under 18 years of age

I will help prevent concussions by: 

  • Wearing the proper equipment for my sport and wearing it correctly. 
  • Developing my skills and strength so that I can participate to the best of my ability.
  • Respecting the rules of my sport or activity. 
  • My commitment to fair play and respect for all - (respecting other athletes, coaches, team trainers and officials).
  • Committing to zero-tolerance for prohibited play that is considered high risk for causing concussions
  • Acknowledging that mandatory expulsion from competition is the penalty for violating the zero-tolerance policy for prohibited play (that which is considered high risk for causing concussions). In other words, I will be disqualified/expelled from play if I violate the zero-tolerance policy. 
  • Acknowledging that there are escalating consequences for those who repeatedly violate the Concussion Code of Conduct

I will care for my health and safety by taking concussions seriously, and I understand that: 

  • A concussion is a brain injury that can have both short- and long-term effects. 
  • A blow to my head, face, or neck, or a blow to the body that causes the brain to move around inside the skull may cause a concussion. 
  • I do not need to lose consciousness to have had a concussion.
  • I have a commitment to concussion recognition and reporting, including self-reporting of possible concussion and reporting to a designated person when and individual suspects that another individual may have sustained a concussion. * (Meaning: If I think I might have a concussion I should stop participating in further training, practice or competition immediately, or tell an adult if I think another athlete has a concussion). 
  • Continuing to participate in further training, practice, or competition with a possible concussion, increases my risk of more severe, longer lasting symptoms, and increases my risk of other injuries. 

I will not hide concussion symptoms. I will speak up for myself, and for others:

  • I will not hide my symptoms. I will tell a coach, official, team trainer, parent or another adult I trust if I experience any symptoms of concussion. 
  • If someone else tells me about concussion symptoms, or I see signs they might have a concussion, I will tell a coach, official, team trainer, parent or another adult I trust so they can help.
  • I understand that if I have a suspected concussion, I will be removed from sport and that I will not be able to return to training, practice or competition until I undergo a medical assessment by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner and have been medically cleared to return to training, practice or competition.  
  • I have a commitment to sharing any pertinent information regarding incidents of removal from sport with the athlete’s school and any other sport organization with which the athlete has registered* (Meaning: If I am diagnosed with a concussion, I understand that letting all of my other coaches and teachers know about my injury will help them support me while I recover.)

I will take the time I need to recover, because it is important for my health: 

  • I understand my commitment to supporting the return-to-sport process* (I will have to follow my sport organization’s Return-to-Sport Protocol). 
  • I understand I will have to be medically cleared by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner before returning to training, to practice or to competition.
  • I will respect my coaches, team trainers, parents, health-care professionals, and medical doctors and nurse practitioners, regarding my health and safety. 

By signing here, I acknowledge that I have fully reviewed and commit to this Concussion Code of Conduct.

Athlete: _____________________________________

Parent/Guardian (of athletes who are under 18 years of age): __________________

Date:  ____________________________________­­__

  1. Coaches and Team Trainers

I can help prevent concussions through my:

  • Efforts to ensure that my athletes wear the proper equipment and wear it correctly.
  • Efforts to help my athletes develop their skills and strength so they can participate to the best of their abilities. 
  • Respect for the rules of my sport or activity and efforts to ensure that my athletes do, too. 
  • Commitment to fair play and respect for all (respecting other coaches, team trainers, officials and all participants and ensuring my athletes respect others and play fair). *
  • Commitment to zero-tolerance for prohibited play that is considered high risk for causing concussions. *
  • Acknowledgement of mandatory expulsion from competition for violating zero-tolerance for prohibited play that is considered high risk for causing concussions. 
  • Acknowledgement of the escalating consequences for those who repeatedly violate the Concussion Code of Conduct. *

I will care for the health and safety of all participants by taking concussions seriously. I understand that:

  • A concussion is a brain injury that can have both short- and long-term effects. 
  • A blow to the head, face, or neck, or a blow to the body may cause the brain to move around inside the skull and result in a concussion. 
  • A person doesn’t need to lose consciousness to have had a concussion.
  • An athlete with a suspected concussion should stop participating in training, practice or competition immediately. 
  • I have a commitment to concussion recognition and reporting, including self-reporting of possible concussion and reporting to a designated person when an individual suspects that another individual may have sustained a concussion. *
  • Continuing to participate in further training, practice or competition with a suspected concussion increases a person’s risk of more severe, longer lasting symptoms, and increases their risk of other injuries or even death. 

I will create an environment where participants feel safe and comfortable speaking up. I will:

  • Encourage athletes not to hide their symptoms, but to tell me, an official, parent or another adult they trust if they experience any symptoms of concussion after an impact. 
  • Lead by example. I will tell a fellow coach, official, team trainer and seek medical attention by a physician or nurse practitioner if I am experiencing any concussion symptoms. 
  • Understand and respect that any athlete with a suspected concussion must be removed from sport and not permitted to return until they undergo a medical assessment by a physician or nurse practitioner and have been medically cleared to return to training, practice or competition.
  • For coaches only: Commit to providing opportunities before and after each training, practice and competition to enable athletes to discuss potential issues related to concussions. *

I will support all participants to take the time they need to recover.

  • I understand my commitment to supporting the return-to-sport process. *
  • I understand the athletes will have to be cleared by a physician or nurse practitioner before returning to sport. 
  • I will respect my fellow coaches, team trainers, parents, physicians and nurse practitioners and any decisions made with regards to the health and safety of my athletes. 

By signing here, I acknowledge that I have fully reviewed and commit to this Concussion Code of Conduct.

Coach/Team Trainer: _____________________________________

Official: ________________________________________________

Date:  __________________________________________________

C)  BMSA CONCUSSION PROTOCOLS

Concussion FAQ’S

WHAT IS A CONCUSSION? 

A concussion is a brain injury that can’t be seen on x-rays, CT or MRI scans. It affects the way an athlete thinks and can cause a variety of symptoms. 

WHAT CAUSES A CONCUSSION? 

Any blow to the head, face or neck, or somewhere else on the body that causes a sudden jarring of the head may cause a concussion. Examples include getting body-checked in hockey or hitting one’s head on the floor in gym class.

WHEN SHOULD I SUSPECT A CONCUSSION? 

A concussion should be suspected in any athlete who sustains a significant impact to the head, face, neck, or body and reports ANY symptoms or demonstrates ANY visual signs of a concussion. A concussion should also be suspected if an athlete reports ANY concussion symptoms to one of their peers, parents, teachers, or coaches or if anyone witnesses an athlete exhibiting ANY of the visual signs of concussion. Some athletes will develop symptoms immediately while others will develop delayed symptoms (beginning 24-48 hours after the injury). 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A CONCUSSION? 

  • A person does not need to be knocked out (lose consciousness) to have had a concussion. Common symptoms include:
  • Headaches or head pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred or fuzzy vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Balance problems
  • Feeling tired or having no energy
  • Not thinking clearly
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Easily upset or angered
  • Sadness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Feeling more emotional
  • Sleeping more or sleeping less Having a hard time falling asleep Difficulty working on a computer
  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty learning new information 

WHAT ARE THE VISUAL SIGNS OF A CONCUSSION?

Visual signs of a concussion may include:

  • Lying motionless on the playing surface
  • Slow to get up after a direct or indirect hit to the head
  • Disorientation or confusion or inability to respond appropriately to questions
  • Blank or vacant stare
  • Balance, gait difficulties, motor incoordination, stumbling, slow labored movements
  • Facial injury after head trauma
  • Clutching head 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSPECT A CONCUSSION? 

REMOVAL-FROM-SPORT PROTOCOL

If any athlete is suspected of sustaining a concussion during sports they should be immediately removed from play. Any athlete who is suspected of having sustained a concussion during sports must not be allowed to return to the same game or practice. 

It is important that ALL athletes with a suspected concussion undergo medical assessment by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner, as soon as possible. It is also important that ALL athletes with a suspected concussion receive written medical clearance from a medical doctor or nurse practitioner before returning to sport activities. 

WHEN CAN THE ATHLETE RETURN TO SPORTS? 

RETURN-TO-SPORT PROTOCOL

It is important that all athletes diagnosed with a concussion follow a step-wise return to school and sports- related activities that includes the following Return-to-School and Return-to-Sport Strategies. It is important that youth and adult student-athletes return to full-time school activities before progressing to stage 5 and 6 of the Return-to-Sport Strategy.

Sport-Specific Return-to-Sport Strategy

Stage

Aim

Activity

Goal of each step

1

Symptom- limiting activity

Daily activities that do not provoke symptoms.

Gradual re-introduction of work/school activities.

2

Light aerobic activity

Walking or stationary cycling at slow to medium pace. No resistance training.

Increase heart rate.

3

Sport-specific exercise

Running or skating drills. No head impact activities.

Add movement.

4

Non-contact training drills

Harder training drills, e.g. passing drills. May start progressive resistance training.

Exercise, coordination and increased thinking.

5

Full contact practice

Following medical clearance and complete return to school.

Restore confidence and assess functional skills by coaching staff.

6

Return to sport

Normal game play.

 

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THE ATHLETE TO RECOVER? 

Most athletes who sustain a concussion will make a complete recovery within 1-2 weeks while most youth athletes will recover within 1-4 weeks. Approximately 15-30% of patients will experience persistent symptoms (>2 weeks for adults; >4 weeks for youth) that may require additional medical assessment and management. 

 

***  Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport Pre-Season Concussion Education Sheet www.parachute.ca/concussion

Click HERE to return to the Rowan's Law Overview.
Click HERE to return to the Ontario Government Concussion Resources