You might welcome multiple players with different skillsets to your sports camp. Some might have many years of experience, while others are new players or play casually. Regardless of skill level, you will still have to see to every participant's safety. This includes protecting them from injury. Among the most-worrisome — and frequent — injuries players might sustain are concussions. They can happen in any sport, at any time. What can you do to prevent them?
Concussions represent serious risks to an individual's physical and neurological health. You will do yourself and camp participants a big favor by doing what you can to keep everyone safe. Though you might have insurance in case of accidents, avoidance is a better technique.
What Are Concussions?
Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI. When you hear the term TBI, you probably don't have a positive reaction. Concussions are sometimes severe, life-threatening issues if not addressed.
A concussion occurs when something impacts a person's head. The impact basically causes someone's brain to shift within their skull. In other words, the brain might twist or bounce, and when it does, it might hit the skull. This could damage brain cells, cause changes in the brain's chemical makeup or even cause bleeds. All these could prove very serious in the worst cases.
The injury might result from a fall, or from a heavy item hitting someone in the head. Quite obviously, there are plenty of chances for these to occur during sporting camps. Bats, balls, wet turfs, slip-and-fall risks and other hazards could cause concussions.
What Are Their Side Effects?
Let's say that one of your players falls and hits their head very hard on a basketball court's floor. The injury might seem scary and worrisome. After any head injury, you should know what to watch out for in case the person has sustained a concussion.
If someone gets a concussion, the side effects might prove minimal, moderate or severe. Some of the signs of a concussion are:
- Dizziness and sluggish movements
- Blurred vision
- An appearance of being dazed, shocked or stunned
- Fainting or a loss of consciousness
- Slowed speech
- Memory loss or confusion
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Feelings of sickness, depression or exhaustion
One important thing to note is that concussions might not prove evident immediately. Still regardless if symptoms develop sooner or later, you must take action.
- Immediately remove the person from play
- Have the person sit or lay down
- Give them something cool to drink
- Apply a cold rag to their forehead
- Ask them to describe their symptoms, if they can
- Administer First Aid if necessary
- If the patient shows severe symptoms, call 9-1-1 or take them to an emergency room
Most importantly, monitor the victim. Keep your eye on them and check on them often. If you see a worsening of symptoms, call in medical intervention. Also, make sure someone knows to look after the victim after they go home.
Does My Club's Insurance Cover Concussions?
If you have sports insurance, you'll often have coverage to protect players in case of a concussion.
A general liability policy will often pay for accidental player injury costs. Should the player sue the camp because of a concussion, coverage might help you provide them with a settlement. You often can also use this coverage to pay your legal bills.
Check to make sure your policy includes participants legal liability coverage. This coverage will distinguish participant insurance as a unique entity within your policy. You must check for this coverage because some policies might exclude them.
Preventing Concussion Risks
Concussions might occur from:
- Falling objects
- Flying balls, bats or sticks
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- A failure to wear appropriate headgear
It doesn't take a lot of work to keep these risks to a minimum. Take a few of these security steps:
- Require participants to wear helmets as necessary.
- Ensure players wear appropriate shoes. Tennis shoes, cleats and basketball shoes all have their purposes.
- Check play areas for obstructions or debris that might cause someone to fall.
- Look for hanging items above you. For example, a loose basketball hoop might be at risk of falling onto someone.
- Clean up wet surfaces as soon as you discover them. These might occur from spills, precipitation, leaks and more. They might occur both on and off the court, even in the locker rooms. If you see an issue, put up a Wet Floor sign and get a mop.
- If you see participants acting in a way that might cause them to get a head injury, warn them that they need to play it safe. Don't let anyone make risky maneuvers.
You usually don't have to do much to prevent concussion risks at camp. However, remember that they will always exist. By keeping your eyes open to potential hazards, you can keep players and others safe.