Many people talk about how contact is being taken out of the game.  This is directly related to the concussion debate.  As a coach we are generally told the following.

No one should return to play or vigorous activity while signs or symptoms of a concussion are present.  Experts recommend that an athlete with a suspected concussion not return to play until he or she has been medically evaluated by a health care professional trained in evaluating and managing concussions. Children and adolescents should be evaluated by a health care professional trained in evaluating and managing pediatric concussions.

As a coach, obviously I do not want to see a kid with brain damage or any type of injury for that matter.  But when you look at the symptoms it becomes very daunting.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head

  • Temporary loss of consciousness

  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog

  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event

  • Dizziness or "seeing stars"

  • Ringing in the ears

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Slurred speech

  • Delayed response to questions

  • Appearing dazed

  • Fatigue

  • Concentration and memory complaints

  • Irritability and other personality changes

  • Sensitivity to light and noise

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Psychological adjustment problems and depression

  • Disorders of taste and smell

Some of these signs are obvious, but some are not so obvious for example fatigue or feeling dazed.  This leaves a lot up to objective opinion as to wear the fatigue is enough to merit calling it a concussion.

As somebody who cares about the players safety, I default to taking the kid out of the game.  As a result I find myself taking kids out of the game every time they fall over from contact.

What does this lead to?  Every time a player runs into another player and falls over I am left thinking “well, he is done for the day and god knows how much longer after that”.

Therefore, as much as I hate it, I am left to be thinking “stop running into each other so everybody can play the entire game!"

I hate taking the physicality out of the game, but I also hate having the health of a kids brain hanging over my head every time he falls over and says he is tired or has a headache.

What to do about it? I am not sure.  When I call medical people regarding this they give me the standard answer of “if you have ANY suspicion of a concussion, take them out”  Which is at the core of my rant.  There is way to much room for error, thus we error on the side of safety, meaning avoid contact or be ready to take kids out of lacrosse games.