Head Injuries – Concussion Policy

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Recognising concussion 

Recognising concussion can be difficult. The symptoms and signs are variable, non-specific and may be subtle. Onlookers should suspect concussion when an injury results in a knock to the head or body that transmits a force to the head. It is important to understand that a hard knock is not required, concussion can occur from minor knocks. 

One common myth about a concussion is that it only occurs, or more often occurs, following loss of consciousness. The truth is that concussions occur with or without loss of consciousness. In fact, more than 90 percent of concussions are not accompanied by a loss of consciousness.

There may be obvious signs of concussion such as loss of consciousness, brief convulsions or difficulty balancing or walking. However, the signs of concussion can be more subtle. The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT5) identifies 22 possible symptoms:

headache nausea or vomiting balance problems sadness
‘don’t feel right’ fatigue or low energy sensitivity to light feeling like ‘in a fog’
‘pressure in the head’  dizziness more emotional nervous or anxious
difficulty concentrating confusion sensitivity to noise trouble falling asleep (if applicable)
neck pain blurred vision irritability
difficulty remembering drowsiness feeling slowed down

What to do in the case of a head injury

Waverley Hockey Club Junior Unit requires that the steps outlined on the Australian Sports Commission Concussion website (https://concussioninsport.gov.au) are followed including:

  1. If a head injury (knock to head, head collision, head hits ground etc) occurs during a hockey event (training or game) then that player should be immediately removed from the field and should not undertake any further activity (regardless of how they feel)
  2. If any of the RED flags are observed an ambulance should be called (rather than an adult driving the player to doctor or hospital)
  3. Regardless of the cause or location or event that led to the concussion (eg, could have happened at school or in a different sporting environment) the Club requires a Medical Practitioner to provide a medical clearance (in writing) for the player to recommence contact sport (training involving contact and games)
  4. If the doctor recommends a staggered return to sport (for example, over a 2 week period: light training, followed by more intense training and then finally return to game play) this must be clearly outlined to a parent who can relay it to the Coach or, preferably, provided in writing
  5. If the coach has any concerns they have the final say on whether the player should train or play

Areas on the Australian Sports Commission Concussion website that specifically provide resources to support this policy: