This is a guest post from Candace DiGiacomo of Tucker Hockey.
For spectators, one of the most compelling aspects of hockey is its physicality and high-tempo nature. Many hockey players also relish the physical battle, but sometimes that can manifest itself in harmful ways. On rare occasions, this could take the form of concussion, which is something that players, parents and especially coaches have a duty to handle sensibly.
Concussion doesn’t strictly mean that the player has lost consciousness. While that certainly is a symptom of concussion, there are numerous other red flags which coaches and parents should learn. If the player seems dizzy, is finding it difficult to keep his/her balance or slurs his/her speech, these could all hint at concussion. Also, if he/she complains about feeling unwell or having a headache, something that wouldn’t be decipherable to others, take his/her word for it and treat it as a potential concussion case.
If you’re a coach and you have even the slightest concern that one of your players might be concussed, take them off the ice immediately and inform a suitable medical professional. The player’s parents should also be notified, although they would most likely rush to his/her aid if they’re attending the game and they witness the potential concussion incident. Players, too, should think safety first and be honest about their symptoms. This is one case where it’s OK for a player to prioritize their own welfare over the collective good; their health is far more important than any scoreboard.
If you are involved in hockey, it’s worth taking a few moments to read through this infographic by Tucker Hockey on dealing with concussion on the ice.
Candace DiGiacomo works for Tucker Hockey, a Calgary-based hockey school offering tuition to adult players as well as minors. The school is run by Rex Tucker, an accomplished coach with 20 years’ experience of coaching hockey players of all ages and abilities.