What to Know Before You Enroll

3 important questions to ask before enrolling your child in a sports program

Organized sports help encourage children to stay active, teach them the importance of teamwork, and help them make friends. The benefits of a quality sports program are endless—but it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Concussions can be one of the most dangerous athletic injuries your child can suffer, yet still studies show 85% of them go completely undiagnosed. While fully preventing your child from sustaining a head injury while playing sports is not always possible, understanding your school or athletic organization’s protocol for head injuries is one step toward making sure they are protected.

To make sure that your child’s sports organization puts safety first, outlined below are three must ask questions before dropping your kid off for that first practice.

Is there a comprehensive concussion protocol?  

Believe it or not, there are youth clubs and organizations that do not have a written concussion policy or protocol.  Not only is it your right as a parent to expect a process for addressing head injuries in every sports program, knowing that a protocol is in place will give you solace that your child will receive the best care possible.  Comprehensive concussion protocols include:

  • Concussion education for parents, coaches and athletes
  • Concussion baseline testing  
  • Sideline remove-from-play concussion detection tools
  • Safe return-to-play/medical clearance after injury

Will there be an athletic trainer at games and practices?  

Having an athletic trainer during sports is beneficial for a number of reasons, but almost always the answer is no. Even if a school or sports club has a resident trainer,  athletic trainers cannot completely prevent athletes from suffering a concussion. Instead, make sure that someone at every game and practice is using the King-Devick Test in association with Mayo Clinic to screen for concussions right from the sidelines in just under two minutes. 

How can we reduce the number of collisions my child is exposed to at games and practice?

Studies show that the majority of head injuries youth athletes are exposed to happen at practice—and they occur at alarming forces.  Several organizations have taken the steps to reduce the amount of full-contact practice or eliminate headers for certain ages.  Remember, if your child plays football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, rugby, wrestling, or any other contact or collision activity, be aware of the number of head impacts that your child is being exposed to during the season.   

With the laser-focused attention on concussions throughout the past few years, most schools and programs should have a concussion protocol of some sort, but it’s important to know that these organizations take your child’s health as seriously as you do.

King-Devick Test in association with Mayo Clinic is a quick, objective, remove-from-play sideline concussion screening test that can be administered by parents, coaches and medical professionals.  The King-Devick Test can be administered on an iPad or Android tablet and is a valuable tool to aid in the detection of concussions.  For more information on how to implement King-Devick Test in association with Mayo Clinic in your school or sports organization, contact King-Devick Test.