Updated Concussion / Safe Return to Play Policy
- If during a practice (on or off the water), training, regatta, camp or clinic an athlete, sustains a direct or indirect force to the head and subsequently exhibits signs, symptoms and/or functional changes consistent with a concussion. He/she is to be immediately removed from play and immediate medical assessment received. Coaches are never to make a determination in the field on their own. (Please note this is not age dependent, all sailors, coaches, officials and volunteers must be treated in the same fashion).
- Following their removal from play, any person suspected to have sustained a concussion is to be assessed by a medical doctor, preferably an emergency physician, to determine the extent of the athlete’s injury and to rule out further pathology. The physician may make recommendations in addition to those described in the 2008 Zurich Guidelines and the Ontario Sailing policy, and these are to be discussed with the individual that was injured (and guardian for those under 18).
- Individuals diagnosed with a concussion should rest until they are symptom-free and should then begin a step-wise symptom-limited program with stages of progression, only after they are without symptoms for a 24 hour period. Those steps include:
Step 1: No Activity, only complete rest.
Step 2: Light aerobic exercise.
Step 3: Sport-specific exercise.
Step 4: Begin drills without body contact.
Step 5: Begin drills with body contact.
Step 6: Return to play.
(Six step process attached to this document as recommended by Think First Canada)
There should be a minimum 24 hours for each stage involved and the athlete should return to the rest stage should symptoms recur.
MEDICAL CLEARANCE IS REQUIRED BEFORE ATHLETE RETURNS TO PLAY
Ontario Sailing supports Think First Canada and the set up of an online training protocol for coaches, volunteers, athletes and parents to educate them on Concussion education.
Recognizes the coaches’ authority under the Ontario Sailing Concussion Policy available at www.ontariosailing.ca this includes the athlete waiving their rights to the Racing Rules of Sailing “Decision to Race” (Rule 4 “Decision to Race The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone”) in the case of a suspected concussion. Medical clearance to return to a contact sport is required prior to the participation in any event or training program.
During the summer of 2017, the Ontario Sailing Association is participating in a concussion policy development program organized by the Coaches Association of Ontario, with expert concussion consultants from the Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and policy development experts from the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association. The goal of participating in this program is to create a concussion policy that is sport-specific and supports sailing athletes, instructors, coaches, officials and volunteers in both a training and competition setting. Revisions to the Concussion/Safe Return to Play Policy will be subject to Ontario Sailing Board of Directors approval in the fall/winter of 2017.