Coaches need training to recognize the signs and symptoms of head injuries in athletes and how to manage the return of recipients of head injuries to play, states Nationwide Children's Hospital. Not properly recognizing and managing a concussion may lead to symptoms that persist, states Athletico Physical Therapy.
Most concussions do not result in a loss of consciousness, so recognizing the physical, emotional, cognitive and sleep-related signs and symptoms of a concussion is key to treating this serious brain injury appropriately, states Nationwide Children's Hospital. Symptoms of a concussion may include headache, nausea and vomiting, and difficulty concentrating or focusing. Nervousness, anxiety, irritability and feeling more emotional than usual are symptoms of a concussion as is trouble falling asleep or sleeping more or less than usual. An athlete who suffers a concussion may not remember the event that caused it, may appear dazed, confused about the game or his position, or forget instructions.
Managing how an athlete returns to play requires the coach, working under the guidance of a medical professional, to allow the athlete to work through various stages, from a complete lack of exertion to a return to normal play, allowing an appropriate amount of time between each stage, according to Athletico. The stages are a complete lack of mental and physical activity; low, increased and high exertion; non-contact practice; and return to play.