Much of the national attention for youth sports has turned to the topic of concussion management. The Baltimore Football Academy Inc and coaching staff take this topic very seriously. To that end, we have provided this information to educate you on the protocol for concussion management and safety. Practice and Game (Return to Play Policy) In accordance with Maryland State Law, The BFA will adhere strictly to the following policy. Should there be signs of a possible concussion, the athlete will be removed from the game or practice immediately and will not be permitted to return without an evaluation and written medical authorization. There will be NO exceptions to this policy! We would encourage all parents, coaches, players and volunteers to read through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) educational section for concussion. The CDC’s website is broken into sections for coaches, parents and players. PLEASE, take the time to read through your applicable section, and please ensure your son(s) do the same. Also, you will notice a free training link on the CDC’s website, we would also encourage you to go through the training as well. Click the following links to find out more:
The Baltimore Football Academy Inc above all else values the health and well being of our players, participants, staff, parent and spectators. Safety comes first in all matters. We have created this fact sheet and information to help you understand concussions and the proper way to identify them and care for them immediately.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is an injury that changes how the cells in the brain normally work. A concussion is caused by a blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. Even a “ding,” also referred to as “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. Concussions can also result from a fall or from players colliding with each other or with obstacles, such as a goalpost. You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.
What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
If your child has experienced a bump or blow to the head during a game or practice, look for any of the following signs and symptoms of a concussion:
Signs Observed by Players or Guardians
• Appears dazed or stunned
• Is confused about assignment or position
• Forgets an instruction
• Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
• Moves clumsily
• Answers questions slowly
• Loses consciousness (even briefly)
• Shows behavior or personality changes
• Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
• Can’t recall events after hit or fall
• Symptoms Reported by Athlete
• Headache or “pressure” in head
• Nausea or vomiting
• Balance problems or dizziness
• Double or blurry vision
• Sensitivity to light
• Sensitivity to noise
• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy • Concentration or memory problems • Confusion • Does not “feel right”
How Can You Help Prevent A Concussion?
• Every sport is different, but there are steps you can take to protect yourselves from concussion.
• Ensure that you follow your coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport
• Practice good sportsmanship at all times.
• Always wear the right protective equipment you are issued (such as helmets, padding, and eye and mouth guards). Protective equipment should fit properly, be well maintained, and be worn consistently and correctly. (Note: The helmet, while it helps, does not itself prevent concussions or other head injuries. Proper fundamentals, safe play, cannot be overemphasized.)
• Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
What should you do if you think your child has a concussion?
Seek immediate medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to sports.
Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Do not return your child to play until a health care professional says it’s OK. Children who return to play too soon—while the brain is still healing—risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Second or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime.
Tell your Coach or Official about any recent concussion. Coaches should know if your child had a recent concussion in ANY sport. Your coach may not know about a concussion your child received in another sport or activity unless you tell the coach. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to reach out to The Baltimore Football Academy Inc immediately.
The virus that causes COVID-19 can infect people of all ages. While the risk of serious illness or loss of life is greatest in those 65 years of age or older with pre-existing health conditions, persons in every age group can become infected with COVID-19 and some may become seriously ill or even die.
With rare exceptions, COVID-19 is not claiming the lives of our children. However, a child with a mild or even asymptomatic case of COVID-19 can spread that infection to others who may be far more vulnerable.
COVID-19 is spread from person to person through contact that is close enough to share droplets generated by coughing, sneezing, speaking, and even just breathing. COVID-19 can also be spread by touching objects where contaminated droplets have landed followed by touching of mouth, nose, or eyes. Due to this easy manner of transmission, an infant, child, young person, or adult who is infected with COVID-19 can spread the infection to others they come in close contact with, such as members of their household, coaches and players. Infected persons with mild or even no symptoms can spread COVID-19.
Due to these risks, The Baltimore Football Academy Inc. has adopted and implemented “RETURN TO PLAY” protective guidelines such as the ones listed below to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission. Many of these guidelines have been adjusted for youth in sporting activities and a result are not as strict as what could be applied for adults in other social and business settings.
Parents should monitor the health of their children and not send them to participate in sports events if they exhibit any symptom of COVID-19. Adult participants should do the same. They should seek COVID-19 testing promptly and report results to team staff and sports organization officials given the implications for other participants, families, and staff. Parents of minor participants and adult participants should protect any vulnerable persons in the same household with whom they come into frequent, close contact. They should also be aware of the enhanced risks for those age 65 or over and/or with compromised immune systems for 14 days after such frequent, close contact.
Recent updates from CDC Considerations From Youth Sports Administrators (Updated Dec. 31, 2020) indicates that the primary mechanism for COVID spread comes from the air and not from surfaces or equipment. The NFHS Revises Guidance On COVID-19 Transmission During High School Sports (Feb. 2, 2021) indicates that the majority of sports related spread from COVID comes not from sports participation, but instead from social contact. Take this new information into account when deciding which mitigation techniques will have the largest impact.
Social Distancing + Face Masks + Limiting Group Socialization Outside Of Sports Field = Winning Formula According To Latest Research.
The following are minimum guidelines to reduce COVID-19 transmission risks for players, staff (team and league), parents/guardians, and spectators. The use of the term “event” applies to all practices, games, tournaments, and other approved activities.
• COVID-19 Coordinator: Appoint a COVID-19 coordinator to oversee all aspects of the COVID-19 risk management plan including customization, implementation, monitoring, updates/changes, communications, staff training, regulatory compliance, documentation, and answering staff, player, parent/guardian and spectator questions about COVID-19 concerns.
• State And Local COVID-19 Guidelines: In addition to these minimum guidelines, you should follow all state and local guidelines as regards COVID-19 and youth sports including but not limited to start dates and limitations on crowd sizes. CDC guidelines are meant to supplement but not replace the more important state and local health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.
• Waiver / Release: An approved Minor waiver/release with COVID-19 language form should be signed by all parents/guardians and players prior to participation. An approved Adult Waiver/Release with COVID-19 language should be signed prior to participation by all team and league staff who are employees, independent contractors, or volunteers.
• Signage: COVID-19 warning signage should be conspicuously posted at entry, exit, and in bathrooms warning of COVID-19 risks and what steps can be taken to reduce such risks such as social distancing, use of face coverings, frequent hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer, and enhanced risks to those with underlying conditions and over the age of 65.
• Duty To Disclose, Quarantine, And Return To Activity: If a staff member or player has tested positive for COVID-19, exhibits symptoms but has not been tested, or has had close contact (additional close contact considerations), such staff member or parent/guardian on behalf of player must immediately notify the COVID-19 coordinator and must remain in quarantine until meeting state or CDC Criteria For Discontinuing Home Isolation. Return to activity should be cleared by the COVID-19 coordinator based on CDC guidance.
• Spread Out Scheduling Of Practice And Games: There should be enough time between practices and games to allow one group to vacate the premises before the next group enters as well as for proper sanitation of surfaces and other equipment.
• Stay Home When Appropriate: Players, staff, parents/guardians, and spectators should stay home (or the motel under isolation if at a tournament) when they are showing signs of COVID-19, have a temperature, or have had close contact with a person with COVID-19.
• If COVID Symptoms Exhibited At Event: If a staff member, player, parent/guardian, or spectator exhibits symptoms during an event, they should immediately be separated and sent home or to a health care facility depending on the severity of the symptoms.
• Duty To Inform, Quarantine, And Return To Activity: Any staff member or player who has tested positive for COVID-19, exhibits symptoms but has not been tested, or has had close contact must immediately notify the COVID-19 coordinator and must remain in quarantine until meeting state or CDC Criteria For Discontinuing Home Isolation. Return to activity should be cleared by the COVID-19 coordinator who may require written clearance from a health care professional.
• Notification Of Third Parties: The COVID-19 coordinator should notify local health officials, staff, and family members of players immediately of any lab confirmed case of COVID-19 for any staff member or player while complying with local and state privacy/ confidentiality laws as well as with HIPAA and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
• Daily Screening: If feasible conduct pre-event observation and/or questioning of all players and staff about the existence of any COVID-19 symptoms including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or known close contact with person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19.
• Social Distancing: All staff, players, parents/guardians and spectators not of the same household should practice social distancing of 6 ft. whenever possible.
• No Congregation: Staff, players, parents/guardians, and spectators should not congregate prior to the event and should stay in cars until right before warm ups and should avoid other groups that are leaving the prior event. Team staff, players, parents/guardians, and spectators should quickly exit after the event and go directly to their cars without congregating with other teams or spectators in common areas.
• Team Check In Process: Team staff and players should continue social distancing during the team check in process for competitions. There should be a single point of contact for teams during events.
• Pre-Game Warm Ups: During pre-game, players and staff should maintain the 6 ft. distance if possible, during warm ups and drills and should only have close contact during actual competition. • Staff Face Coverings: Staff are encouraged to wear face covering whenever within 6 ft. of another player, staff member, or parent.
• Player Face Coverings: Players are encouraged to wear face coverings in close contact areas and situations where applicable. Players should be allowed to wear face coverings in competition should they choose to do so and long as they don’t compromise their safety.
• Parent / Spectator Face Coverings: Parents and spectators are encouraged to wear face coverings whenever they are at the facility and within 6 ft. of a person not of the same household.
• Personal Hygiene: Staff, players, parents/guardians, and spectators should practice proper hygiene, wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), abstain from touching their face (mouth, nose or eyes), refrain from spitting, and cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw tissue in the trash. In addition, as a backup, players and staff should carry their own hand sanitizer.
• Player Equipment: Player provided equipment should be kept in a bag and should be spaced to encourage social distancing. Players should bring their own disinfectant wipes to wipe down their own equipment between use.
• Shared Equipment: The use of team provided equipment should be limited to the greatest extent possible and should be disinfected between each use if possible. Balls should be disinfected whenever possible and an adequate supply should be kept on hand.
• Water Bottles: No team or dugout coolers should be provided. Parents/guardians should provide separate marked water bottles or sports drink for their child.
• No Contact: No Handshake Policy: A strict no contact policy will be observed for customary game-related activities such as pre-game coaches’ handshakes, umpire-coach-player introductions, and post-game handshakes between members of opposing teams. Instead, officials, players, and coaches should use verbal queues such as saying “good game”, without shaking hands, high-fiving, or fist-bumping.
• Facility Modification: Facility entrances and exists should be set up at separate locations whenever possible. Discontinue the use of physical posting of brackets, rules, etc. and instead post online.
• Facility Washing / Hand Sanitizer Stations: The facility owner/operator and/or sports organization should provide hand washing and/or hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility and near dugouts.
• Facility Sanitation: The facility owner/operator and/or sports organization should regularly clean and sanitize all common areas including dugouts, other seating, water fountains, bathrooms, concession stands and similar areas between games and activities. The facility owner/operator and/or sports organization should also provide cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer near all dugouts or other player seating areas. See CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting your facility including what cleaning products to use and steps for safe disinfectant use.
• Concessions: Concession staff should wear gloves and face coverings; practice social distancing whenever possible with coworkers; frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and after all potential contamination events; may use hand sanitizer (60% alcohol) but not as a substitute for hand washing; frequently sanitize all surfaces; mark off 6 ft. spacing for patron lines; and minimize handling of cash, credit cards, and mobile devices whenever possible.
• Before The Event: Team staff should wipe down and sanitize all dugout and other sideline seating areas including railings and equipment racks.
• After The Event: After the completion of the event, the team staff should remove and dispose of all trash.
• Shower / Wash Clothes: After every event, players and staff should take a shower and wash all clothes.
• Awards: All team or player awards will be presented wrapped up and given to the team manager, or his/her designee. There will not be any presentation on the field.
This plan will be updated as new information is released by local, state and Federal organizations mandated for compliance.
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