Concussions are a very real issue in youth hockey and youth sports in general. The Board of Directors has recently adopted a new policy with regards to preventing, treating and caring for head trauma.
First and foremost is training. We are training our coaches to recognize the signs of a concussion, we are training the players how to avoid injuries (to them selves AND others) and most important we are raising awareness with the parents on how to spot and respond to head injuries and concussions. We are following the guide lines set forth by the CDCs "Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports" campaign.
Second, we are employing the use of Im-Pact testing. This test is a critical tool in evaluating the severity of a concussion and the progress of its healing. One of the major issues we face is not knowing when a child is ready to return - this will help us gauge that time line instead of guessing.
Lastly is equipment - we encourage all players to wear properly fitting mouth guards and properly fitting helmets. Mouth guards should be boiled and fitted BEFORE being used to be most effective. Helmets should be fitted properly and free of cracks. Check the padding is should be pliable NOT HARD. One of the most common issues we see is expired helmets, yes they expire (the date is on the back) - if it's expired it should not be used - period.
Listed below are useful links to help you research and learn more about concussions, base line testing and equipment management - feel free to contact me directly with any concerns or ideas you may have.
http://head-zone.com/: for educational programs, performance programs, and individual/team ImPACT screenings