It’s the time of year for signing your kids up for fall sports. Whether your kid plays football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, wrestling or even swimming, you should pay careful attention to the Concussion Information Sheet AND the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Information Sheet, both legally required by Washington State. The law requires every athlete to annually review, sign and return two different forms to school, prior to initiating practice or competition. Since the forms only require the athlete and one parent to sign, parents who share custody or whose ex-spouse has sole custody may not even see these forms. If you’re the parent who hasn’t seen the forms, you should go to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association website, read the Concussion form, and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Information Sheet. The website also has videos and links to other excellent resources to help educate parents on athletic safety. Most parents will find it disturbing, if not shocking, that the concussion form contains this highlighted warning:
ALL CONCUSSIONS ARE POTENTIALLY SERIOUS AND MAY RESULT IN COMPLICATIONS INCLUDING PROLONGED BRAIN DAMAGE AND DEATH IF NOT RECOGNIZED AND MANAGED PROPERLY
Parents should be aware of the legal obligation of coaches to look for signs of a concussion, remove the child from play who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury, and not allowing the child to return to play until the athlete has received written clearance from a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of brain injuries. It’s up to the team to have such a health care provider on site, so if one is not at the event, the injured athlete cannot return to play. Don’t hesitate to ask the coach if a health care provider will be with the team, and whether a portable AED defibrillator is available as well as someone trained to use it. Preventing brain damage and death should be strong motivation for following the law.
Learning to Spot a Concussion in Children
To help parents and their athletic kids to better comprehend concussion safety, a great resource comes from the Center for Disease Control, which now has an app you can download to help parents learn how to spot and respond to a concussion, and helps with helmet fit, safety and care. The CDC also has a second app for kids called Rocket Blades that is a brain safety game described as “a futuristic world of galactic racing adventures where children can learn the benefits of playing it safe and smart!”
The app aimed for kids aged 6 to 8, is designed to teach children:
the different ways the brain can get hurt during sports activities.
how important it is to tell a coach, parent, or other adult when an injury occurs.
the importance of taking time to rest and recover if they have a concussion.
When parents of athletic children divorce, they need to continue making decisions about sports that can have serious consequences to their child’s safety. The Bellevue divorce lawyers at Molly B. Kenny, LLC understand how critical these issues are to divorcing parents, and are ready to help parents face these important decisions.