To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, CDC developed the HEADS UP Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. The HEADS UP initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion.

Click HEADS UP Concussion Testing to access

Cougar Soccer Club Concussion Protocol

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a direct or indirect blow to the head or body.

Allowing an athlete to return to play before recovering from a concussion increases the chance of a more serious brain injury.

Any athlete who exhibits the signs or symptoms of a sports-related concussion or other head injury during practice or competition shall be immediately removed from play and not return to play that day. Emergency medical assistance shall be contacted when symptoms (outlined below) get worse:

  • Dizziness, disorientated
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Direct neck pain associated with the injury
  • Any other sign the parent coach determines emergency medical attention is needed.

The parent coach shall contact the athlete’s parent and inform the parent of the suspected sports-related concussion.

An athlete who sustains or is suspected of sustaining a concussion or other head injury shall be required to have a medical examination conducted by their physician or licensed health care provider.

The athlete’s physician or licensed health care provider shall be trained in the evaluation and management of concussion to determine the presence or absence of a sports-related concussion or head injury.

The athlete’s physician or licensed health care provider must provide to the club a written medical release/clearance for the athlete indicating when the athlete is able to return to the activity. The medical release/clearance must indicate the athlete is asymptomatic at rest and either may return to athletic activity because the injury was not a concussion or may begin the club’s graduated return to competition and practice protocol outlined below.

Since the coaching staff are not medical providers, this graduated return to play protocol could be monitored by physical therapists in the community.

Coaches must complete and record completion of sideline sports course, which includes concussion training: http://www.sidelinesportsdoc.com/sidelinesportsdoc/t-home.html

Step 1: Light Aerobic Exercise

  • The Goal: only to increase an athlete’s heart rate.
  • The Time: 5 to 10 minutes.
  • The Activities: exercise bike, walking, or light jogging.
  • Absolutely no weight lifting, jumping or hard running.

Step 2: Moderate Exercise

  • The Goal: limited body and head movement.
  • The Time: 10 to 20 minutes
  • The Activities: moderate jogging, brief running, moderate-intensity stationary biking.

Step 3: Non-contact Exercise

  • The Goal: more intense but non-contact
  • The Time: 30 to 40 minutes
  • The Activities: running, high-intensity stationary biking, the player’s regular TECHNICAL soccer activities (non-contact). This stage may add some cognitive component to practice in addition to the aerobic and movement components introduced in Steps 1 and 2.

Step 4: Practice

  • The Goal: Reintegrate in full contact practice.

Step 5: Play

  • The Goal: Return to competition

After each step is performed, the athlete is monitored for symptoms. If no symptoms develop during the activity, or within the next 24 hours, they can be advanced to the next step on the following day. Therefore it takes 5 days to return to game play from the start of the return to play protocol. This protocol is the ONLY one which should be followed and is MANDATORY, any player or parent who questions this policy should be directed to the Cougar Soccer Club Board or Steve Jones.