Roles and responsibilities of parents and athletes
Prevention is the key
Enrolling your child in a team sport program at school or in the community can be a very rewarding experience for everyone. From lacing up your child’s first pair of skates to running the team jersey through the washing machine, it all amounts to being part of an active lifestyle. As parents, it is important for children to play safe and have fun.
When it comes to concussion, prevention is key. Prevention involves respect for self in terms of your own conduct as a spectator and good understanding of the rules of the sport. Equally important is the role of protective equipment:
- Encourage your child to play fair and engage in fair play, within the rules, and within his or her abilities.
- Teach your child to have respect for his or her brain and the brains of their opponents.
- Reinforce wearing the right gear for the right sport, and the importance of having equipment that fits well and is in good condition.
- Helmets prevent skull fractures, brain contusions, lacerations, and blood clots in and around the brain. They do not prevent concussion.
- There is no scientific evidence that mouthguards prevent concussions, but they do prevent dental fractures and jaw fractures.
In the event of concussion, asking questions about your child's concussion is important. There are a number of questions to consider when it comes to the overall sport experience. These questions may address program organization, psychological and developmental factors, adult leadership and, of course, safety. Here are some examples of questions for parents and athletes.
The purpose of this Tool Kit is to help guide your actions, with respect to home, school and play when your child has had a concussion.
As a parent, you already know it takes a village to raise a child. This is particularly true with respect to ensuring the safe return of your child to his/her normal routines after a concussion. In anticipation of meeting with your child’s physician, creating a list of questions and concerns that you have, as well as anticipating what the doctor might ask, will help paint a clearer picture for both yourself and the doctor of your child's concussion. You may find this list of questions helpful, as they contribute to your level of confidence with respect to ensuring you have all the information you need at the conclusion of the appointment(s).
Returning to normal activity at home, school and sport also requires planning. Following the physician’s recommendations is important to help your child with each of these environments. Here is an example of a home, school and physical activity work plan:
We encourage you to take time to meet with your child’s teacher for the purpose of establishing a safe and rewarding return to learn plan.
In the case of an older child, it makes good sense to engage their participation as part of the overall return to learn and return to play experience. Help your children help themselves by providing them with Concussion Guidelines for the Athlete.
When children suffer from concussion, their social, physical and learning environments are affected. The concussion experience may result in your child being unable to return to sport or school for a period of time, which may cause them stress and pressure. Children might not have enough knowledge to recognize when they have been concussed, and so providing concussion education is important. They might also choose not to report their injury or de-emphasize symptoms because they want to play their sport, and not let their team, coach or parents down.
When it comes to the learning environment, it is important to provide your son or daughter's teacher with the right concussion information. The stress and pressure that a child might experience in trying to return to school faster than they should might be lessened if the teacher has knowledge of concussion and its impact.