OCUA Concussion Recognition and Management Protocol

Ottawa Osteopathy & Sports Therapy and OCUA have developed this tool to help coaches, captains and players better detect and manage head injuries in Ultimate.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury that cannot be seen on routine X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. It affects the way a person may think and remember things, and can cause a variety of symptoms. Any blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body which causes a sudden jarring of the head may cause a concussion. This can be a body collision, a hit to the head from an elbow or disc or hitting your head on the ground.

Concussion should be suspected in the presence of any one or more of the following:

  • Symptoms (such as headache)
  • Impaired brain function (e.g. confusion)
  • Physical signs (such as unsteadiness)
  • Abnormal behavior

What to do if you think a concussion has just occurred?

When in doubt… sit them out!

Never return to play if you suspect concussive blow has occurred. Symptoms from a concussive blow may not appear until 5-7 days later. It’s better to wait one week than to rush back to sport. Do not be influenced by factors such as games where your team is missing players, finals etc.

How can I test an athlete if I think they have been concussed?*

You can use this online tool to assess your player's symptoms: www.parachutecanada.org/downloads/resources/CRT5.pdf

*Note: assessement of an individual medical health status should be done by a trained health profesional.

How do I know if they need to go to the emergency room at a hospital?

The player should be seen by an emergency room physician if the following signs or symptoms occur:

  • Any passing out or not responding to you
  • Irregular heart rate, breathing, blood pressure
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Memory loss
  • Headache that gets worse
  • Seizures
  • Confusion or irritability that gets worse
  • Possible spine injury, skull fracture or bleeding

What kind of doctor should a concussed athlete see?

All concussed players should be seen by a physician and should fill out a Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 3rd edition (SCAT5). If your family physician does not have you complete this test, ask them to refer you to a sports medicine physician. Consider one of the following clinics:

Carleton University Sports Medicine Clinic
(613) 520-3510 www.carletonsportmed.com/
University of Ottawa Sports Medicine Clinic
(613) 564-3950 www.uottawa.ca/health/services/sport.html

How do I know if it’s safe to return to Ultimate?

Never return to play if you still have symptoms!

A player who returns to active play before full recovery from the first concussion is at high risk of sustaining another concussion, with symptoms that may be increased and prolonged.

Always follow the 6-Step Return to Play Guidelines.

Where can I get treatment for prolonged concussive symptoms?

Contact Ottawa Osteopathy & Sports Therapy to get the most up to date manual therapy treatments for sports concussion.

(613) 521-3222

www.ottawaosteopath.com

 


 

6-Step Return to Play Guidelines

Step 1: No activity, only complete rest

Limit school, work and tasks requiring concentration. Refrain from physical activity until symptoms are gone. Once symptoms are gone, a physician, preferably one with experience managing concussions, should be consulted before beginning a step wise return to play process.

Step 2: Light aerobic exercise

Activites such as walking or stationary cycling. The player should be supervised by someone who can help monitor for symptoms and signs. No resistance training or weight lifting. The duration and intensity of the aerobic exercise can be gradually increased over time if no symptoms or signs return during the exercise or the next day.

  • Symptoms? Return to rest until symptoms have resolved. If symptoms persist, consult a physician.
  • No symptoms? Proceed to Step 3 the next day.

Step 3: Sports specific activities

Activities such as easy cutting or throwing can begin at step 3. There should be no body contact or other jarring motions such as high speed stops.

  • Symptoms? Return to rest until symptoms have resolved. If symptoms persist, consult a physician.
  • No symptoms? Proceed to Step 4 the next day.

Step 4: Begin drills without body contact

  • Symptoms? Return to rest until symptoms have resolved. If symptoms persist, consult a physician.
  • No symptoms? The time needed to progress from non-contact exercise will vary with the severity of the concussion and with the player. Proceed to Step 5 only after medical clearance.

Step 5: Begin drills with Body Contact

  • Symptoms? Return to rest until symptoms have resolved. If symptoms persist, consult a physician.
  • No symptoms? Proceed to Step 6 the next day.

Step 6: Game play