(Non professional) translation from French to English of an undated professional memo of the FSQ dealing with Concussions
(Source of document – see the website for Soccer Outaouais under “Documents”

A concussion is an indirect or direct impact to the head which leads to  complications in brain function.   Concussions occur often enough in soccer.  The majority of concussions in soccer result from contact between opposing players or with a goal post. Occasionally  they can occur when a player tries to block the ball with their head or is hit in the head with a kicked ball.

You can suffer a concussion without losing consciousness.

Following a hit to the head, if the injured person experiences one or more of symptoms such as the following,  that are not typical for them, they may have suffered a concussion:

  • Dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, difficulty with balance, difficulty falling asleep, sleeping longer than usual, drowsiness, sensitivity to light or noise, emotional instability, irritability, depression, anxiety, numbness, memory difficulties.etc.

Following a hit to the head the player must stop playing  and rest, for the remainder of the day to permit them and others to observe their symptoms

A player must immediately and without any delay go directly to a hospital emergency if any of the following has happened after the player was hit on the head:

  • The player lost consciousness, is suffering convulsions, is speaking incoherently or with difficulty, is disoriented, is vomiting, has numbness or paralysis in the legs or arms, however minor, their vision is affected  or the player is having trouble with their coordination.

Once a player’s symptoms have completely disappeared , they may progressively  return to exercise and to sports.  They should not return to sports before they return to school or work or before undertaking cognitive activities.  It is important that the steps (see below) are progressive to see how the body reacts to the new activity (whether cognitive or physical) and if the individual can tolerate it and to determine if more time is needed for the brain to heal.

There are 6 recognized steps to be followed in order before completely returning to normal activities.

Step 1 – complete rest ( no reading, no school or school work,  no school tests or exams,  no job-related work, no television, no smart phones, no video games or computer screens, and no bright lights).  For youth, this period must last at least one week at a minimum.
Step 2 – can the individual tolerate light physical exercise  ( such as walking or gentle biking) without a return of symptoms?
Step 3 – Can the individual tolerate moderate physical exercise such as running, without a return of symptoms?
Step 4 – Can the individual tolerate sprints, jumps and changing directions that are specific to their sport, without a return of symptoms?
Step 5 – Can the individual tolerate  contact specific to their sport (including the use of the head) without a return of symptoms?

Before moving to step 6, a written authorization of a health professional or doctor is required.

Step 6 – Return to the normal activities of the sport ( play in games)

For players who are not children or adolescents, the recommended approach for passing from one step to the next is to wait 24 hours after moving to a step to see if there are any indications or symptoms, and if there are none, one can move to the next step.  If there are indications or symptoms, the player must take a pause and return to the previous step.  If the player is a child or a adolescent,  it is recommended to  carry out each step twice, before moving to the next step and to wait 48 hours  without signs or symptoms. Because we are dealing with the brain, it is essential to follow these steps religiously to avoid permanent aftereffects to brain functions and to risk having  a second concussion, which could be fatal.  Never forget that the long term goal is to ensure the long term well being of the player.  Parents and coaches must never forget this responsibility, even where the child wants very much to play.

Consider the following points to avoid concussions  and injuries in general:

  • Sportspersonship and respect for the rules 
  • Proper equipment
  • Proper technical instruction
  • Making the parents, players and coaches/trainers  aware of the consequences that flow from suffering a concussion

The FSQ will continue to take steps to improve the protection of players.

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