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Concussion Policy

Concussion Policy

DYHA Traumatic Brain Injury (AKA Concussion) Policy

To help insure the health and safety of our athletes, DYHA has adopted the concussion policy recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We ask that ALL coaches, players and parents support our effort to protect the players by teaching the importance of following USA Hockey’s “Heads Up” hockey principals and by being aware of the symptoms and signs of concussion.  It is important for all adults involved in youth athletics to recognize the potential for catastrophic injury and even death from concussions. Thus it is extremely important that each coach, parent, board member, and medical support personnel review their responsibilities in protecting young athletes.

Note: It has always been the ultimate responsibility of the coaching staff, in all sports, to ensure that players are only put into practice or contests if they are physically capable of performing. However, all adults involved in the conduct of youth sports competition have responsibilities in this endeavor.

The U.S. Department of Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published the following lists of signs, symptoms and behaviors that are consistent with a concussion.

Signs Observed by Coach Signs Reported by Player
Appears dazed or stunned Headache or "pressure" in head
Is confused about assignment or position Nausea or vomiting
Forgets sports plays Balance problems or dizziness
Is unsure of game, score, or opponent Double or blurry vision
Moves clumsily Sensitivity to light
Answers questions slowly Sensitivity to noise
Loses consciousness (even briefly) Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
Shows behavior or personality changes Concentration or memory problems
Cannot recall events prior to hit or fall Confusion
Cannot recall events after hit or fall Does not "feel right"

If, following a blow to the head or blow to the body that jolts the head, any player has any of these symptoms, the player must be removed from play immediately.  Players WILL NOT be allowed to return to play (RTP) until cleared by a qualified healthcare professional with experience in evaluating concussions and a written RTP notice is delivered to the Head Coach and/or the Director of Hockey Operations. Coaches should never allow any athlete to return to play if they are still exhibiting symptoms regardless of any medical clearance.

Any coach/player/parent who suspects that a player may have received a head injury, should report that injury by completing a USA Hockey Injury Reporting Form and delivering it to the Director of Hockey Operations.

Coaches/Parents/Players should read the following appropriate documents put out by the CDC and adopted as part of the DYHA Concussion Policy.

USA Hockey - Heads Up Hockey
CDC - Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports
CDC - Heads Up: Concussion in High School Sports 
CDC - Heads Up for Concussions - A Fact Sheet for Parents

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Who is responsible for administering this policy?

All adults who have responsibilities and duties in the youth athletics environment are responsible: coaches, parents, board members, and medical personnel.

What is the role of coaches in administering this policy?

Coaches are to review and know the signs and symptoms of concussion and to prohibit any athlete who displays these signs or symptoms from participating in a practice or a contest.

Note:  Coaches are not medical professionals and have no authority to determine whether or not an athlete has sustained a concussion. The coach is responsible for removing a player when he or she observes signs and symptoms that may indicate an athlete is concussed and ensuring that the athlete’s parents are notified and the athlete is referred to a medical professional.

Who decides if an athlete has not been concussed and/or who has recovered from a concussion?

Only an M.D. (Medical Doctor), D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy), or A.T. (Athletic Trainer) is empowered to make the determination that an athlete has not received a concussion. 

If any one of these individuals has answered that “yes” there has been a concussion, that decision is final.

Can an athlete return to play on the same day as he/she receives a concussion?

No, under no circumstances can that athlete return to play that day. When in doubt, hold them out. 

If the event continues over multiple days, then a health care professional has ultimate authority over return to play decisions. 

However, if a health care professional (M.D, D.O. or A.T.) has evaluated the athlete, who has been removed from competition due to exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a concussion, and has determined that the athlete did not sustain a concussion, that athlete may return to play with the submission of the written authorization by the health care professional. 

The written authorization shall be submitted to the Head Coach and/or Director of Hockey Operations who shall forward a copy of the written authorization form within 48 hours to the DYHA board, retaining a copy for the team book.

Once the day has concluded, who can issue authorization to return to practice / competition in the sport?

Once a concussion has been diagnosed, only an M.D., D.O. or A.T. can authorize subsequent return to play (RTP), and such authorization shall be in writing. This written RTP authorization shall be kept with the team book and turned in with the team book to the DYHA registrar at the end of the season. 

With receipt of the written authorization, the Head Coach has the permission to return the athlete to practice or play. 

What should be done after the athlete is cleared by an appropriate health care professional?

After a clearance has been issued, the athlete’s actual return to practice and play should follow a protocol established by an appropriate health care professional. 

The following graduated protocol is suggested, however, the appropriate health care professional who issues the clearance may establish a different graduated protocol.

Suggested Medical Clearance Return To Play Protocol 

1.       No exertional activity until asymptomatic.

2.       When the athlete appears clear, begin low-impact activity such as walking, stationary bike, etc.

3.       Initiate aerobic activity fundamental to specific sport such as skating, and may also begin progressive strength training activities.

4.       Begin non-contact skill drills specific to sport such as stick-handling, etc.

5.       Full contact in practice setting.

6.       Game play/competition.

Athlete must remain asymptomatic to progress to the next level. (It is often suggested that an athlete not be allowed to progress more than one level per day.)

If symptoms recur, athlete must return to previous level and should be reevaluated by an appropriate health care professional.

Medical check should occur before contact. (Final written clearance from the medical professional shall be obtained before the athlete engages in any unrestricted or full contact activity.) 

USA Hockey Insurance Coverage

By registering as a member of USA Hockey you are automatically enrolled in the USA Hockey insurance program.  To review a description of the benefits, visit the USA Hockey Insurance and Risk Management.

Additional Resources

Coach fact sheet:
Parent fact sheet:
Athlete fact sheet:
ImPACT Testing website:
USA Hockey Insurance and Risk Management:

On line concussion test:

Concussions in Ice Hockey: What's the Buzz?
USA Hockey Concussion Information